Articles in the paper have exposed a little confusion/misleading regarding the Seattle Marathon. According to their website's front page, the marathon was to benefit the UW Medical Center Patient & Family Housing Fund. This was reinforced at the starting line by the announcer.
Turns out that none of the entry fees go to the charity. Only money raised or donated separately by the participants goes to the charity. This amounted to $12,000 last year, and in total the marathon took in $1 million. The article notes that compensation has tripled in the past two years, even though the website states that the marathon is run by volunteers.
By way of comparison, the Portland marathon (similarly sized) donated $200,000 of their entry fees to charity. Now I'm sure most of the runners were there for reasons other than charity, but I'm guessing most thought that the $95 - $120 entry fees were more reasonable if part of it went to support a local charity.
The Seattle Marathon has some image fixing to do. Hopefully we will hear in the next couple of days about a sizable donation made.
On a separate topic, the Portland Marathon has stated that it is OK for runners to plug into their iPods. This is a break from what other marathons are doing. There were tons of runners in Seattle wearing headphones. Most were off in their own world. Not sure if that is such a good thing.