Marathoning for money passes GO at 9 a.m., precisely, on Sept. 19 in Atlantic City, with a $50,000 purse. Promoter Bob Kennedy, if all goes as he plans, won't mind a bit breaking any potential monopoly envisioned by The Athletics Congress authorities with their plans to go pro with a grand prix circuit.
"This event is not sanctioned," complains Fred Lebow. The New York Road Runners president directs the New York City Marathon, heads the Long Distance Road Race Directors Association formed this June, advocates open competition -- and, if sanction is forthcoming from TAC -- has the New York 26-miler Oct. 26 programmed to offer thousands in prize money.
"I don't think any athlete who wants to compete in national or international (e.g., Olympic) competition will compete in this race," Lebow said. "I don't think the prize money is substantial for world-class athletes to jeopardize their standing."
Phooey, says Kennedy, rejecting TAC efforts at dissuasion as "cumbersome" and "hypocritical" and going ahead with name-sponsored tentative arrangements for equal purses for the top five male and top five female finishers. The winners would collect $15,000, runners-up $4,000, etc.
And the 9 a.m. start segregates the pros from the simon-pures who set out at 9:30 in the other division of this 21st Atlantic City Marathon.