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Canton Marathon Chief Executive Responds to Today's 'Letter to the Editor'

Stephen Mears, chief executive of the 2012 Canton Marathon and Hall of Fame City Challenge, says a race that benefits the community is more important than a dispute over finances

Editor's note: The following letter was written by Stephen Mears, chief executive of the Hall of Fame City Challenge and 2012 Canton Marathon, in response to a letter to the editor written by Julia Dick, president of Canton Marathon, LLC.

I very much enjoyed working with Julia putting together the first marathon, but we've reached a point in our business dealings where we can no longer work together on this project. Our philosophies are opposite when it comes to running this event, so I am now forced to go in a different direction. She has refused to go forward with the race until all issues were resolved in her favor.

Most of the expenses paid to StrategyONE were payments for services rendered, as any other vendor relationship would work. We put 100% of our effort into putting on the marathon and incurred expenses as a result. Any money loaned to StrategyONE was for business purposes. We didn't turn a profit working on the marathon. I signed a note to repay these funds under duress.

I repeatedly attempted to settle this issue, have all of the outstanding liabilities handled, as well as offer a settlement to her. She repeatedly declined my offers to remedy the situation and move forward. My dispute is not over the finances, it is about putting on a race that benefits the community. Our customers, the runners, don't care to see a dispute play out, they want a race, and that's what I'm proceeding with.

Regards, Steve

Carla Schillero January 07, 2013 at 07:49 PM
Mr Mears, I am a runner and very much enjoyed the inaugural Canton Marathon. However, as a "customer", I would much rather see you put off a race for a year, and handle your financial responsibilities, than to move ahead with uncertainty and hope the bills get paid. I appreciate your intentions to satisfy the running community, but I don't feel you are acting in wisdom and integrity, and it may, unfortunately, end up costing you in the long run. I, for one, will not be entering your race, knowing the financial instability that exists. This is horribly unfortunate for the reputation of Canton. I hope things can get cleared up.
Mark Erzen January 08, 2013 at 02:43 PM
I think the word is out that there's a dispute and unpaid vendors from last year. It's spreading fast in the local running community. I'd be reluctant to sign up for an event that has such large unsettled debts with key vendors, and municipalities reluctant to provide the necessary support. This looks shady on the surface. A $100,000 bill for StrategyOne amounts to one-quarter of the registration revenue from last year. Since the owner of StrategyOne also owns the Canton Marathon - that bill should have been settled last, not first. You can't hold a race without police support, medical support, registration systems, timing and results systems - and those are the bills that are unpaid. Pay the municipalities and vendors - settle the debt (if it's real) to StrategyOne - and hold ONE marathon. Or, hold no marathon until the issues are resolved. There's always next year.

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