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Posted: December 28, 2009  : Add to Mixx! Subscribe to stories like this Share

Athletics: Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon Wins Graphic Design Award for Advertising Campaign

CLEVELAND (Dec. 28, 2009) -- The Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon, Half Marathon & 10K has been awarded the distinguished American Graphic Design Award from Graphic Design USA. The marathon's advertising agency, Highland Public Relations, received the award in recognition of the marathon's identity campaign, launched in 2009, The Cleveland Experience.

The American Graphic Design Awards is a national competition open to everyone in the graphic arts community. It honors outstanding works of all kinds in 23 different categories ranging from print and packaging to Internet and interactive design.

Executive Race Director Jack Staph said the goal of The Cleveland Experience campaign was to bring the heart of Cleveland and its rock and roll roots to life. Staph said, "Our runners really embraced the fun, hippie-themed brand and enjoyed wearing the branded gear."

The Cleveland Marathon staff received feedback from runners who, in keeping with the theme of the campaign, were happy to share how much they enjoyed creating their own Cleveland experiences during race weekend in May 2009, Staph said.

"The positive feedback from runners is the greatest reward. Receiving the American Graphic Design Award for our marketing efforts is also something of which I'm quite proud," said Staph.

During the race, many runners and observers were dressed in the colorful branded running gear they purchased that weekend at the marathon's expo. Staph said seeing so many people wear the marathon's shirts was proof that The Cleveland Experience connected with the crowds.

"This award means a great deal to those of us that work so hard to put on this event and bring health and fitness to Cleveland," said Staph. "The second aspect of the ‘Cleveland Experience' is using the course to show off the best and brightest parts of the city. I'm a firm believer that once people experience Cleveland, they will be fully impressed with the city."

The Cleveland Experience campaign consisted of full page, full color ads in a number of regional and national running publications, as well as national online banner ads, a branded website and email campaign and other collateral materials that were also part of the award submission.

"Highland PR has worked tirelessly to help create a strong brand for the Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon," Staph said. "It's obvious through this award and the response of the runners that with their help, we've struck the right chord with our marketing efforts."

The Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon has experienced 140 percent growth in participation since 2003, with 12,500 registered runners in its May 17, 2009 events. One of the 50 oldest marathons in the country, it is a Boston Marathon qualifier and sits in the top five for fastest median time for marathon finishers nationally.

The Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon offers the following opportunities for people to participate in the event: full marathon, half marathon, 10K, full marathon walking division, half marathon walking division, 10K walking division, a new 5K (run or walk), Kids' Run and 10K Corporate Team Challenge. The events take place May 15 and 16, 2010.

To register for any of the events, or learn more about the Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon, visit

Akron, Ohio's Highland Public Relations is the marathon's agency of record. It has been responsible for developing the marathon's advertising strategy and campaign creative since 2003. The agency also handles the media relations responsibilities for the marathon. Highland Public Relations is a full-service public relations, marketing and advertising firm located in the Highland Square district of Akron. Information can be found at

About the Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon, Half Marathon & 10K:
The Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon, Half Marathon & 10K is in its 33rd year of providing a running experience for all individuals who want to participate regardless of their abilities. More than 260,000 runners have participated, generating more than $12 million annually to benefit the Cleveland community.

Mission Statement:

  • To provide a running experience for all individuals who want to participate regardless of their abilities.
  • To produce an event that highlights the Cleveland community and provides a positive economic impact for the community.
  • To give charities an opportunity to benefit financially from the Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon, Half Marathon & 10K, along with the new 5K.

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