The Action's in Growth Sports


By Rick Horrow and Karla Swatek

September 17, 2012

Football has kicked off, baseball is winding down and hockey might be locking out. While most of the sports world’s focus is on these mainstream pastimes, fall is also prime season for growth and action sports coast to coast.

In Boston, where the autumn foliage is just beginning to think about showing its splendid colors, thousands of runners participated in the Allstate Life Insurance Boston 13.1 Marathon, one of the eight stops of America’s Half Marathon Series. The new 2012 course started and finished at Suffolk Downs, taking runners through East Boston, Revere and Winthrop, including views of Downtown Boston and the Atlantic Ocean.

Runners competing in the Boston race, produced by US Road Sports & Entertainment Group, have already raised more than $150,000 to benefit Autism Speaks as part of the charity’s Team Up program. What’s more, Allstate Life Insurance and non-profit organization Give Your Sole have also partnered to collect gently used athletic shoes to benefit the Boston Rescue Mission, an organization aiding Boston’s impoverished residents for more than 100 years.

Runners who donate their shoes on race day will receive a free pair of flip-flops to wear home—after the series’ Finish Line Festival, where they’ll have the chance to enter a sweepstakes to win a $4,500 running gear shopping spree at Dick’s Sporting Goods, and a post-race party sponsored by Michelob ULTRA.

The Half Marathon Series is a scenic precursor to the marathon world’s big annual finale, the ING New York City Marathon on November 4. The premier event of New York Road Runners, the ING New York City Marathon draws more than 100,000 applicants annually and is backed by United, Nissan, Timex, Foot Locker, and others in addition to financial giant ING.

Out West this weekend and next, the world’s best surfers are set to compete at what has long been thought to be California’s most picturesque and perfect wave, Lower Trestles at San Onofre State Beach near San Clemente.

After a record-breaking U.S. Open of Surfing this summer in Huntington Beach, the 2012 Hurley Pro is one of the critical Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) World Tour events on the mainland, drawing 36 of the sport’s elite, including Mick Fanning, Joel Parker, and 11-time ASP World Champion and Quiksilver face, Kelly Slater.

Last year’s Hurley Pro reached a key financial milestone for the action sport, offering the single-largest first place and overall prize purse in ASP World Tour history: a $105,000 first place prize and $400,000 overall. While the sums pale in comparison to the $1.9 million just handed out to Serena Williams and Andy Murray for winning the women’s and men’s singles titles at the U.S. Open, the purse is a testament to surfing’s ever-growing corporate support.

“Every year, we strive to make the sport of surfing better,” says Hurley’s Vice President of Sports Marketing Pat O’Connell. “And the Hurley Pro is the perfect venue to achieve that. From the world’s best surfers to the fans on the beach to the online audience, we’re looking to elevate the experience across the board.”

Title sponsor Hurley, a leading Southern California-based surf equipment and apparel company, was acquired by Nike in 2002. The week-long Hurley Pro event at Lower Trestles will also feature the Bud Light Lime Expression Session Showcase, a four-person team event awarding an additional $10,000 to the winning athletes.

Owned and produced by IMG, the Bud Light Lime Surf Series integrates a diverse pool of athletes comprising contest pros, legends, locals and YouTube stars vying for more than $125,000 in total prize purse and coveted spots in the Bud Light Lime Expression Session Showcase. Sponsors of the Bud Light Lime Surf Series include Surfline, Fin-S, Smith Optics, Coastal Edge, and the Mauli Ola Foundation.

For land-locked surfing fans, this year’s events will for the first time feature their own Apple iPad and iPhone apps, with live video, stats, music, and many extras. Even if you’re all the way over in Boston, it’s the next best thing to chillin’ on the SoCal beach.




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