Group plans to revive Columbia Marathon using crowdsourcing - - Columbia, South Carolina |

Group plans to revive Columbia Marathon using crowdsourcing

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A little over a week after the news of the Columbia Marathon's demise became public, a group of people have joined together to try to revive the event using a relatively new form of fundraising commonly referred to as crowdsourcing or crowdfunding.

The group must raise $5,000 no later than November 5 so it can purchase the course certification and move one step closer to ensuring the event will take place on March 8, 2014.

To do that, the group of eight community members is asking for those who wish to run to sign up donate using the group's gofundme website. Those who do so will receive 100 percent credit toward race entries. For example, if somebody donates $130, that person will receive two marathon entries for no additional cost.

If the race does not take place, all donated funds will be returned.

Thomas Rose, a 27-year-old University of South Carolina graduate, came up with the idea after learning that the event's former director Dan Hartley had decided not to hold the 2014 race.

"We're 95% positive this event is going to happen," said Rose. "This is just a growing pain in the process of making it a permanent stay in the city of Columbia."

Rose says he gained experience with event planning while at USC, indicating he was involved with the Dance Marathon and Parents Weekend. He says other members of the group include executives and college students.

The races will follow the same courses, and shirts and medals will be included in the entry fees. The group is hoping to offer an enhanced pre- and post-race experience, which could include a festival-like atmosphere within walking distance of the finish line, according to Rose.

"Almost all major cities have a marathon," said Rose. "It puts Columbia on the map as a destination city."

Rose said the group plans to meet with Columbia Mayor Steve Benjamin next week and has already reached out to the police department to discuss logistics.

The event would include a marathon, a marathon relay, a half marathon, a 5K, and a kids' fun run.

The 2012 race drew runners from 46 states and 5 countries and event attracted at least 2,000 people to downtown Columbia, according to some estimates.

Possible trouble for the event became apparent in the days following the 2013 event when several age-group winners began to complain that they did not receive their promised awards.

Hartley responded on the race's Facebook page saying he did not have enough money to purchase the awards.

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