The growth of the Medical Mutual Glass City Marathon has provided an additional boost to local charities.
The race on Sunday will feature more than 7,000 runners, growing from 1,500 in 2009. The charitable organizations associated with the event also have benefited from the increase in popularity.
The 38th annual Medical Mutual Glass City Marathon will start and finish on the campus of the University of Toledo.
The event raised $9,000 for charitable organizations in 2009 and increased to $165,000 last year.
Race director Clint McCormick said there are nine primary charities, including Maumee Valley Habitat for Humanity and Great Lakes Collaborative for Autism.
■When: Sunday, 7 a.m.
■Where: Starts and ends on the University of Toledo campus
■More information: glasscitymarathon.org
The event raised $25,000 in 2010 and then $46,000 in 2011 before bumping up to $87,000 in 2012.
Catina Harding, the executive director of the Great Lakes Collaborative for Autism, said the affiliation with the marathon raises both funds and awareness.
“It's been an amazing partnership,” she said. “This is our fifth year, and we've raised over $100,000. The marathon also has given us a completely different audience that never would have been exposed to us.”
Harding said her organization connects local families and individuals that have been touched by autism to programs and services in the community.
Last year more than $45,000 was raised through the marathon.
She said many autism programs in Ohio are not covered by insurance. Donations to the Toledo based nonprofit are given directly to programs and services for those families.
“The Glass City Marathon helps give us that funding,” she said. “People can also raise money for us by running or walking.”
Many of the other charitable organizations have similar programs where money is pledged to participants.
Medical Mutual signed up as the main sponsor of the marathon in 2012. Owens Corning has sponsored the half-marathon since 2012 as well.
“When you have companies of that caliber believe in what you do for the community and fitness, it affirms what you've done. It makes you the real deal,” McCormick said.
The Medical Mutual health insurance company, which was founded in 1934, is headquartered in Cleveland. The company also has a Toledo office and is the largest and oldest insurance company based in Ohio.
McCormick said the marathon also is the main annual fund-raiser for the Toledo Roadrunners Club. The marathon also is put on by the nonprofit running club.
McCormick said it takes more than 1,300 volunteers to staff the event.
“The amount of money raised has been growing each year from 2008 where we started essentially as break even,” McCormick said.