This Portland event fixture for over 40 years has professional marathoners to the journey-driven athlete and anyone in between totaling over 30,000 participants and raised much needed funds for their partner non-profits. 26.2 miles of heaven or hell, however you look at it, the Portland Marathon has helped support countless non-profits and have changed athlete's lives once they cross that finish line.
The Portland Marathon wanted to create campaigns that brought in increased participation from the young professional community as well as create an entrainment element or event that would entice more entries and give enhanced exposure to the marathon as the "people's race", accessible to anyone and everyone.
iHeart Productions created a viral campaign based on their extensive social network, utilizing social media management and word of mouth campaigns. Additionally, iHeart Productions unveiled the Joy Ride, it's Mobile Entertainment Unit, at three mile markers along the route of the marathon. DJ Don't Stop created heart pounding beats that were matched by the furious dancing and cheering of the 'IHeart Rally Team"- an 80's inspired group of sign holders and dancers that encouraged and high-fived the 30,000 plus runners and walkers that passed by. iHeart stayed at each location until the final participant passed.
As part of the Joy Ride's rally team, a campaign known as "Project Why" was created and implemented. Athletes were asked why they were participating and what was the driving force behind their decision to attack 26.2 miles. Athletes were asked to send in their personal stories of struggles, redemption, and journeys. Additionally, iHeart Productions is in development talks with the marathon over creating "Run for Fashion" lifestyle fashion show and after party that will be a fundraiser and pre-funk to athletes and supporters alike.
Members of the iHeart community who normally wouldn't have participated in the races or volunteering, started signing up for the race and volunteer positions. For those that weren't able to do it this year, a new buzz and awareness of this event was planted firmly into their head. iHeart also made quite the impact with the athletes passing by with an overwhelming response of gratitude and tears. The last athlete, at a snail's pace, to walk by on the last leg of the race, stopped and greeted us with tears. She said "I have no family in this country, but for three stops I kept seeing you and it made me realize that I truly am supported and loved. Thank you for giving me the push and fire to finish." With that she limped off and the iHeart Rally team realized the importance of music, dance, and the power of support- even if they are complete strangers. This is our job and this is why we love what we do.