William H. Rumsey, director of the D.C. Department of Recreation, said yesterday there definitely will be a D.C. Marathon on April 12, one week before the Boston Marathon, and one week after Washington's Cherry Blossom 10-mile run.
Although the route has not been finalized, Rumsey said the race probably will begin on the Mall, near Jefferson Avenue, and travel past all the city's universities, and through each of the four quadrants and eight district wards.
In October, Rumsey said he envisioned a marathon that would include big-name runners and a course that would emphasize the historical and tourist sites of the nation's capital. Rumsey said that while he still wanted "to go by some of the tourist attractions," he was more interested in a course that involves the community.
Rumsey said he did not think the date of the Boston Marathon would hurt the race. "You can't come up with a date that prevents some people from having to make a choice," he said.
Jim Purce, a race coordinator, said, "A lot of people aren't good enough to run in Boston, or don't want to run in Boston. We'll probably have to limit it to 1,500 people the first year."
The race director will be Helen Hillman, a department employe and marathoner and the department will coordinate city services involved the race. But Rumsey said, "because of the austerity of the budget, we will have to reply on outside sponsorship."
He said the marathon committee was drawing up a budget that will be presented to four or five potential sponsors in the next two weeks. He declined to say who those sponsors were or how much he thought the race would cost.
Rumsey said the costs will not include travel expenses or prize money for name athletes. "I would not pay them to be here," he said.
Asked whether he would object to his sponsors paying for name runners, he said, "I can't control them. If they decide to do that, I would make it clear publicly that we are not involved in that."
Some local running officials have expressed concern about the timing of the event, and the time required to organize it. Phil Stewart, president of the D.C. Road Runner's Club, said, "I do not think 3 1/2 months is enough lead time to stage a major marathon and I'm sure the city needs another one."
Dick Good, president of the Potomac Valley Athletics Congress, and one of about 15 local race officials who met with Rumsey to discuss the proposal last month, said, "The concept of a D.C. Marathon is good. But to a certain extent, they would be better to wait a year and work everything out."
Purce said, "That's what the running clubs said last year. The time frame is our biggest problem. But we'll pull it off."