- Tony Doris Palm Beach Post Staff Writer
After a two-year hiatus, the Palm Beaches Marathon returns to the waterfront in December with a new course, along with a half-marathon, 5k, fireworks and features focused on health and fitness.
The main event, the Fitteam Palm Beaches Marathon, starts 6 a.m. on Sunday, Dec. 3, on Flagler Drive near Clematis Street. But there’ll be a number of events leading up to it and two nights of fireworks to ignite the weekend.
According to Gary Ferman of Specialty Sports, the Bill Bone 5K on Friday, Dec. 1, at 6:30 p.m., will serve as a warm-up event for walkers and runners, with the city’s brightly illuminated Sandi, the towering holiday tree of sand, as the backdrop.
Before the 5k, from noon to 6 p.m. Friday, and from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, there’ll be a Health and fitness Expo at CityPlace, featuring wellness products and services, running apparel and race information.
FPL is sponsoring a concert starting 5 p.m. Saturday as a thank you to Hurricane Irma first responders. The concert, in the Meyer Amphitheatre, will feature rock band Sister Hazel.
On Sunday morning, the marathon and half-marathon start with a loop around downtown.
The Palm Beach Town Council recently approved the running of an early leg of the course through the town, the first time in the history of the event that the sweaty masses will be permitted across the Lake Worth Lagoon. So just before the third mile, runners will cross the Flagler Memorial Bridge into Palm Beach, then head south, partly along the Lake Trail, and come back downtown on the Royal Park Bridge.
Back in West Palm, they’ll take North Flagler Drive all the way through the North End, to the Manatee Lagoon. Then they swing south for 11 miles to 10th Avenue N in Lake Worth and back north again into downtown West Palm Beach.
Charities and homeowners groups will distract from the exhaustion by hosting 16 themed “Wacky Water Stations” along the way. They’ll get $200 toward their charity and the winning water station will receive a $1,000 prize.
One way to run in the marathon without running a marathon is to join its Relay Division. Four-person relay teams can join, with team members running legs of 5, 7, 8 and then 6 miles.
The organizers also are looking for non-runners, to serve as volunteers. Anyone interested can email email@example.com.
After Life Time Fitness said in 2016 it would no longer operate the Eau Palm Beach Marathon & Run Fest, the Chamber of Commerce of the Palm Beaches exercised a contract clause to regain rights to the race, at a nominal cost. Ken Kennerly’s K2 Sports Ventures bought the race and brought in Fitteam as the name sponsor. Kennerly is executive director of the Honda Classic PGA golf tournament in Palm Beach Gardens.
“We are creating one of the premier running experiences in the world,” Kennerly said. “It will be a three-day weekend experience for runners and their families to come and enjoy everything we have in Palm Beach County.”
For more information, visit www.thefitteampalmbeachesmarathon.com. Registration is open through Dec. 1 at $105 for the Marathon, $85 for the Half Marathon and $40 for the 5K. Onsite registration will be available at $120 for the Marathon, $95 for the Half Marathon and $45 for the 5K.