Staging the Marathon Classic presented by Dana, the second-longest running stop on the LPGA tour, is a massive undertaking. Before the field of 144 strike their first shot, Highland Meadows is transformed into a track worthy of the best female golfers in the world.
But the Marathon Classic means much, much more. Both to the Northwest Ohio community that has hosted the event since 1984, and to Marathon Petroleum, which has served as title sponsor for the past seven years.
“We couldn’t do the tournament without the title sponsor,” says Marathon Classic Tournament Director Judd Silverman. “The tournament would not happen. It builds the foundation for the event. It simply would not be possible without Marathon. We wouldn’t be in business.”
“It’s great brand exposure for us,” notes Erik Fenberg, advertising specialist for Marathon Petroleum. “It’s our legacy area, right in our backyard. It’s also the biggest event Marathon sponsors annually. And partnering with the LPGA, which has a global platform, helps us get world-wide brand awareness, which is great leading up to the 2021 Solheim Cup.”
“It also ties perfectly into our sponsorship and support of Stacy Lewis. Because she was born in Toledo, she’s proud to play here each year in front of so many friends and family as well as represent the Marathon brand.”
“I can’t say enough about the partnership (between Marathon and the Tournament),” adds Silverman. “We’ve been working together for seven years, and it’s been wonderful. We’ve been well aligned on several fronts, trying to make the tournament better. That includes trying to raise more dollars for charity.”
Each year, the tournament gives back to Northwest Ohio charities in a big way. In fact, since the inception of the tournament, $11.8 million has been distributed to 180 local children’s charities.
For 2019, 23 local non-profits will share a portion of the proceeds from the tournament. They include: Ronald McDonald House Charities of Northwest Ohio, the Jamie Farr Scholarship Fund, Toledo Junior Golf Association, The Ability Center, Blanchard Valley Health System, Boy Scouts of America Black Swamp Area Council, Children’s Rights Collaborative (CRC) of Northwest Ohio, Children’s Hunger Alliance, Diabetes Youth Services, Findlay Enrichment Programs, Girl Scouts of Western Ohio, Challenger Baseball league, Hope House, Hospice of Northwest Ohio, International Boxing Club, Dolly Parton Imagination Library, Metroparks Toledo Connections Camp, Mom’s House, Parker’s Purpose, Partners in Education, SAFY of OH, Toledo Northwestern Ohio Food Bank and The Toledo Symphony.
“Supporting the Marathon Classic really ties into our corporate values around giving back,” emphasized Fenberg. “That’s truly the best part of this whole Tournament. The beauty of it is that for all the hard work that goes in, these 23 Northwest Ohio and Southeast children’s charities benefit from the tournament. That’s why we stand out in the sun and heat all week! And I want to give a special recognition to all the Marathon volunteers. Without them, the Classic wouldn’t be a success. They deserve all the praise and recognition.”
MPC is committed to the Marathon Classic through 2021. That year also marks the Solheim Cup; Marathon Petroleum is the global sponsor. That event takes place in Toledo, Ohio, as well.
“That’ll be a big year and exciting for women’s golf and Marathon,” notes Fenberg.