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Quintiles did something last weekend

It seems that corporate sponsorship is necessary these days for any event. I have no problem with that. I have thick skin and can easily ignore an onslaught of company propaganda. However, I do have a problem with the company name completely dominating the event name.

I volunteered at the Wrightsville Beach Marathon last weekend and I was struck by the race logo. The name of the title sponsor was written so much larger than the actual name of the event that, from a reasonably close distance, I could not read the event name. But I could easily read the sponsor, Quintiles. How strange: right? What is Quintiles, anyway? I looked up the company on the internet and all I could figure out is that they provide services to other biomedical research companies. I will probably never in my life make a brand choice between Quintiles and their competitor (whomever that would be). And I seriously doubt that over 1% of the participants in the “Quintiles Wrightsville Beach Marathon” will ever make that brand choice either. Now, if it were Coke or Nike or even Hammer Nutrition, I could understand why top billing is so important. But Quintiles? Again, I will never go to my doctor and say, “You know, your recommendation is not based on a study that was serviced by Quintiles, so I’m not going to take your advice.”

So, judging from the signs around Wilmington last weekend, a company called Quintiles did something, but I couldn’t read what it was they did.

I, on the other hand, had a blast at the Wrightsvill Beach Marathon. I rode sweep which means I rode my bicycle behind the last runners. Actually, I rode my bike all over the race course looking for the last runners. While I was out on the course, I spotted Renee Zukerman, a local runner, who was volunteering for her daughter’s track team by cheering on the marathoners. We had a nice talk and I’ll post that to YouTube in a TriRiot episode if she gives her blessing.

The best part of the job was riding the last 3 miles along side the last runner, Beth. It was her first marathon and she was concerned she wouldn’t finish in time for the cutoff (6 hours). As we got closer to the finish line, we picked up several race officials (including Sami Winter and Eric McFetters) and a van and the other sweep rider, Randy. We were Beth’s private cheering section. She did finish with 5 minutes to spare. And she wasn’t even last. Within 20 yards of the finish line, she passed one other runner.

So it was a great morning, but I’m still asking the same question I’m sure many others are asking: “Who the hell is Quintiles?”

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