When Hill and Collier pitched their idea to the memorial foundation a couple months later, they made a personal promise to do everything first-class.
The promise has paid dividends; Bart Yasso, the chief running officer at Runner's World magazine, selected the Memorial Marathon as one of his dozen favorite races in 2004. The man known in the running world as the Mayor of Running listed Oklahoma City alongside Miami, Austin and Minneapolis, as well as Rome, Stockholm and Antarctica.
"I've always said that running a marathon ... is very emotional," Yasso said a couple years ago. "If you look at a race like Oklahoma City, they attach a whole other emotion to the emotional day."
His thumbs-up along with those from other runners has brought runners to the Memorial Marathon from all 50 states and more than a dozen foreign countries.
"Word-of-mouth really spreads in the running community," Yasso said. "Once you put on a great race, runners just boast about it nonstop."
So it is with the Memorial Marathon.
"They don't maybe even understand when they sign up ..." Hill said, "butï¿½they never leave here without being affected, impacted, changed."