There are 45,000 dreamers who will hit the New York City streets on Sunday morning, determined to cross the finish line of a 26.2 mile jog through the five boroughs on one of the city’s most celebratory days: The ING New York City Marathon day.
While you know where you’ll find all of them on Sunday, it is also likely that you’ll find most of them in the Columbus Circle subway stop at some point this week. It's the closest MTA stop to where runners need to pick up their numbers and free T-shirts and it’s not that far from where the race finishes up in Central Park as well. In 2008, the stop had 20 million people pass through it, according to Second Avenue Sagas.
Sensing an opportunity, sneaker manufacturer ASICS has taken over the subway stop this week, giving both runners and casual observers plenty to look at.
The ASICS Marathon Experience at Columbus Circle stretches in total over 2 football fields long, with 17 visual stations, each presenting facts, figures or images from the “Superbowl of Running.”
For all who wonder just how fast those pro runners rip through the 26.2 miles, there will be a 60-foot-long video wall that will feature a video loop of top U.S. marathoner Ryan Hall running down the length of it at his race pace. You can be sure he’ll have a few competitors down that 60-foot stretch this week.
ASICS will also unveil its new mantra — “Stop at Never” — at the ASICS Marathon Experience at Columbus Circle. Ryan Hall will be the face of "Stop at Never," with a spot, called "Mantra," that will also play on the CNN digital billboard in Times Square.
Runners will also likely be intrigued by the giant mural of an elated runner crossing the finish line with arms up that also contains every single name of those slated to run Sunday’s marathon in the image.
For those who don’t run, there will be a large piece of art entitled “Recycled Runner” that is made up “water cups, band aids, shoes, and other marathon debris.”
Also, for the second year in Vitro's campaign for ASICS, marathoners' fans near and far can support them along the course on race day by visiting the ASICS Support Your Marathoner website to record video and text messages that will appear on large screens at three ASICS Support Your Marathoner stations (miles 9, 13, and 22) as they run by on November 6th.
Using social media, the Support Your Marathoner website and RFID technology, anyone can cheer on their favorite marathoner, course-side, without ever leaving their couch. Just upload a video, and it will be delivered to your marathoner, on a giant video screen, mid race. New this year, NYC Marathon participants can also “Share Your Glory” by creating messages that will appear on their Facebook page as they run by the screens.
ASICS and ING, the marathon's title sponsor, aren't the only brands showing their support for the annual event, of course, with Foot Locker, United Airlines, Timex, Nissan Leaf and Yourbud sport earphones among the generous donors lending support. But it's fair to say that ASICS is making the biggest presence with its experiential marketing around this year's event, especially as it's grabbing New Yorkers and tourists as they're racing — through the subway!