Editor’s note: Race 13.1, a Raleigh-based startup race series, has funding and a plan to go nationwide with its half-marathons. ExitEvent’s Laura Baverman has all the details. ExitEvent is a news partner of WRALTechWire.

RALEIGH, N.C. - It’s hard to ignore the hoopla over running. There are marathons in nearly every major U.S. city. And you can run to Rock ‘n’ Roll music or in mud, through highlighter dust and wearing only underwear.

But what once was a fun way to raise money for charities has become big business for the entrepreneurs behind the races and the brands and corporations now sponsoring them (Here’s a Wall Street Journal take on the boom). A Raleigh entrepreneur believes he has a niche race to grab a chunk of that activity.

Race 13.1, a half-marathon series targeting second and third tier cities around the U.S., raised a seed round last December from Lookout Capital—series founder John Kane is also a partner in the investment firm. Kane has executed three successful races around North Hills in Raleigh, and will host five races this year, including the first in Greensboro this weekend. A deal with Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina carries full sponsorship of all North Carolina races for the next three years.

Kane believes that deal will help him win additional sponsors for up to 25 events in 2015 and 60 in 2016, when the series will be national. 166 U.S. cities fit his criteria for a Race 13.1 event. He’ll hire a corporate team in Raleigh and vice presidents and race leads in key cities around the U.S.

The full post can be read online.