White Rock race name runs into history

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by BRAD WATSON

WFAA

Posted on May 23, 2012 at 6:00 PM

Updated Wednesday, May 23 at 8:37 PM

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DALLAS — Big changes are coming to the longest-running marathon in the State of Texas.

It will no longer be called the "White Rock Marathon." The new name is the "Metro PCS Dallas Marathon."

The race will no longer begin and end at Fair Park, and the revised route will include two prominent new Dallas landmarks.

The 2012 marathon starts from downtown Dallas on Main Street near the Old Red Courthouse and go in a new direction, since it’s now a near city-wide event seeking an international profile.

"The desire is to make sure that this race becomes one of the world's premier city marathons," said Dallas City Manager Mary Suhm.

But tradition dies hard for some. By renaming the race Dallas Marathon and dropping "White Rock," the reaction was rough on Twitter.

"It'll always be 'White Rock Marathon' to some of us. Hate naming rights sponsorships!" one person wrote.

"Noooo!! Lost tradition," and "Does everything have to be commercialized?" were two other responses.

Marathon leaders say the new name is consistent with other top city races.

"We're bringing in more people from outside the state; we're bringing in more people internationally, and there's been some confusion,” said Dallas Marathon Executive Director Marcus Grunewald. “Why do you call it 'White Rock?' Why don't you call it 'J.R. Ewing Marathon?'" referring to the patriarch of the fictional "Dallas" TV series.

The new route crosses the Margaret Hunt Hill bridge and loops through West Dallas, delighting City Council member Monica Alonzo, who represents the area.

"I hope that not only these 25,000, but more participate, and they come to West Dallas, get a feel, and then they come back when they finish," she said.

The 2012 race will also include the new deck park over Woodall Rodgers Freeway before heading north through Uptown, the Park Cities, and around the east side of White Rock Lake and then Lakewood.

The downtown route on a Sunday leaves City Council member Sheffie Kadane concerned about interfering with church traffic.

"Hopefully we can work something out where we can get to church and it won't be a problem," he said.

The December 9 race ends downtown at the Convention Center, where post-race events will be staged.

Registration for the Dallas Marathon opens June 1, and it's expected to sell out with the number of runners capped at 25,000.

E-mail bwatson@wfaa.com

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