Goddesses of Victory invade Union Square
That column in the middle of Union Square, it’s topped with the goddess of Victory on top. Well her Greek name is Nike, and this weekend below her a whole tent city has been set up for thousands of athletic women from all over the country that are in town to participate in the 2007 Nike Women’s Marathon.
There’s an “expotique” built up around the concepts of fun & fitness, and Nike’s offering runners free manicures, massages, and a heads up on all sorts of Nike related whatnot. This popular and completely sold out annual event has brought in heap loads of dough for Luekemia & Lymphoma related causes, an estimated some $40 million in the first three years. This year, the event’s 4th, is expected to pull in over 18 million alone, from the efforts of some 20,000 participants, up from 15,000 last year, registered from 11 countries & all 50 states. All the slots were filled in just 3 and a half days, and I even saw registration spots being auctioned on Ebay.
Like the sneakers, this isn’t a one size fits all race, so there’s also a half marathon for those who don’t feel up to the whole 26 mile challenge.
On Sunday, the runners leave Union Square at 7 am and head through the downtown financial district past the TransAmerica tower, along the Embarcadero past the Wharf, and Marina Green into the Presidio and out to the Great Highway, through Golden Gate Park and south along Lake Merced, finishing just north of the Great Highway along the Pacific Ocean. Along the way, event organizers have even set up randomly placed DJ stations, and live entertainment options to keep the runners entertained all the way to the sea. If you’d like to see the 26 mile course breeze by in about 11 high speed minutes via streaming video, click on the windows media file link below the jump:
On Thursday night the “expotique” was packed with participants, and quite a few lookee loos as well. While Olympic gold medalist Brandie Chastain was on the stage exhorting hopefuls to future glory, other non-athletic types were enjoying free wine, and the free manicures were quite popular as well.