Making a marathon connection, via MassMutual

By Allen Wastler
Allen Wastler is a former financial journalist with over 30-years of experience, including time at CNBC, CNN, and Knight-Ridder Newspapers.
Posted on Nov 6, 2017

“Go, dude!!!! You can do it! Go…… (your name here)!!!!”

At Mile 15 of yesterday’s marathon in New York, hearing that might have been just what you needed.

But consider this: Of the more than 50,000 runners participating in this year’s marathon events in New York City, about 70 percent of the marathoners were from out of town. And a majority of those visitors were traveling alone.

That was a pretty lonely prospect for a lot of runners, who were already facing a daunting physical task. Challenges, even specifically individual ones, are better faced with support and strength from others, even if they are only on the sidelines.

That’s a fundamental belief at MassMutual: People are stronger when they Live Mutual by working together and supporting one another. So we decided to do something to help out-of-town marathoners get some much-needed personal support: Our Adopt-a-Runner program, an effort to connect out-of-town runners and wheelchair competitors with local supporters via a web-based pairing app.

"We wanted to find a way to not only share the message of Live Mutual, but to make it tangible to people in a meaningful way," said Jennifer Halloran, MassMutual's head of brand and advertising.

It was a simple process. Runners planning on participating in this year’s marathon, notified through social media and influencer campaigns, could sign up with the app and get paired with a local New Yorker willing to cheer them over the finish line. If you live in or around New York, you probably saw one of our billboards or New York Times content features encouraging participation.

Hundreds took advantage of the program.

Indeed, if you caught any of the race you may have seen Gotham Cheer, a local cheerleader group, or a gospel choir from Harlem or kids from local schools like Williamsburg Northside Lower School cheering on their adopted marathoners.

People helping people through encouragement and support; it’s what MassMutual believes in and supports. And we’re glad that our Adopt-a-Runner program made that happen.

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