A hometown race: Martin Marietta sponsors Raleigh, North Carolina’s biggest race of the year

The race, which took place in the heart of downtown Raleigh, North Carolina, in November, included four lengths: a marathon, a half marathon, a 10K, and a 5K race.

Curtis Smith throws his hands up in victory after crossing the finish line at the Martin Marietta City of Oaks Marathon.

“Knowing that some friends and co-workers were waiting at the finish line was a huge motivator. I was blown away by how many people were waiting. I’d been expecting only a few people at the finish line and finding out that others had finished their races several hours earlier and waited to cheer me through was a humbling experience.”

That was the reaction of Senior Manager of IS Support Services Curtis Smith after crossing the finish line at this year's inaugural Martin Marietta City of Oaks Marathon. 

The race, which took place in the heart of downtown Raleigh, North Carolina, in November, included four lengths: a marathon, a half marathon, a 10K, and a 5K race. 

Smith trained for weeks in preparation for the run. And his results showed. 

“My main goal was to beat my time of 5 hours 55 minutes, and I also did not want to cramp up,” he said. “I wasn’t 100% successful, as I still had some cramping after mile 18, but I am happy to say that I beat my time from last year, finishing in 4 hours and 17 minutes.” 

Smith was one of about 6,500 race participants, and those co-workers and friends cheering him on were among thousands of race watchers throughout Raleigh, North Carolina where Martin Marietta’s corporate headquarters is located. 

“Whether participating in the race or volunteering, so many employees and their families came out to support and celebrate our community,” said Helen Drotor, a business analytics analyst at the corporate office who volunteered all morning at the race. “My favorite part was cheering the runners on at the finish line and seeing the looks on their faces when they accomplished their goals. I feel very grateful to be part of an organization where employees are excited to come out on a Sunday at 6 a.m. to show the community why our company rocks.” 

The race is another example of Martin Marietta’s commitment to community well-being. While signing with the City of Oaks Marathon, Martin Marietta’s leadership also decided to match every donation to this year's charity beneficiary, Girls on the Run Triangle. 

Martin Marietta’s Senior Vice President, Chief Human Resource Officer Kelly Bennett, left, presents a check to Girls on the Run Triangle’s Executive Director Aiesha Edwards after the marathon.

Girls on the Run Triangle positively impacts and inspires thousands of young girls to be joyful, healthy and confident using a fun, experience-based curriculum that creatively integrates running and physical activity. With the help of trained, caring and qualified coaches, girls learn critical life skills and even contribute to the community through a service project. 

In total, the race was able to raise over $21,000 to help the organization. 

“We were so excited to offer the people of Raleigh and The Triangle a fun and healthy activity that touches so many parts of our beautiful community,” said Kelly Bennett, Martin Marietta’s senior vice president, chief human resource officer. “When we asked Girls on the Run Triangle to be our charitable partner for this event, their team was equally excited. Girls on the Run does such important work to help young women gain the confidence they need to become the leaders of tomorrow, and that is something we’re proud to support.” 

The race was a huge success, with positive feedback abundant from all involved. 

“City of Oaks Marathon is a special event for the Raleigh community,” said Charlie Mercer, CEO of Capstone Event Group, the organizer of the City of Oaks Marathon. “Year after year, this event attracts thousands of people from all walks of life who come together to accomplish their goals in a positive and supportive environment. We were thrilled that an admirable local organization like Martin Marietta wanted to be an integral part of bringing the event to the community in 2023.” 

And that is not all. Martin Marietta has signed on to be the title sponsor for at least the next three years. 

“Raleigh is such a spectacular city, and this race shines a spotlight on the people and the many beautiful areas that make our community so special,” Bennett said. “We pride ourselves on being good neighbors, and so we view sponsoring an event like the City of Oaks Marathon as a wonderful way to bring joy to 6,500 race participants, their families and friends.”

From left to right: Cassi Durham, Jessica Holmes and Julie Barrett, in full Martin Marietta swag walk in the 5K portion of the Martin Marietta City of Oaks Marathon.