It’s not often that we get to be first as adults–first in line to get a snow cone or first to cross a finish line–but on November 10, Southwest Florida athletes will have the opportunity to participate in the first marathon in our region, the Ted Todd Insurance Fort Myers Beach Marathon, managed by Eident Racing.
The Fort Myers Beach Marathon, is a brand new event which will feature four racing options: a marathon (26.2 miles), half marathon (13.1 miles), 5k (3.1 miles), or a four-person relay team with each relay participant completing a quarter of the marathon course. Medals will be given to the half marathon, relay, and full marathon finishers. All registrants receive entry to the race, event technical t-shirt, course support (water, food, bathrooms) and medical staff, entertainment, parking and shuttles, and a virtual goodie bag. Virtual goodie bags are relatively new to the race scene but you can expect to find coupons for both national and local vendors along with other offers. On-course food and post-race food is provided by Publix and will include water, Gatorade, bananas, and Clif Bars and gels.
The course begins on Fort Myers Beach, heads inland along Summerlin, winds around a bit near Gladiolus, then heads back to the beach. The finish awaits competitors at Nervous Nellies. Parking and shuttles will be assigned to participants based on their event, and parking for spectators is best found at one of the shuttle lots before the Matanzas Pass Bridge if you are heading to see the start and finish. The best spectating spot is found at Summerlin Square or Lakes Park. One interesting aspect of this course is that the only hill is the bridge, and runners will cross it twice- once in the first mile, and then in the last mile of the race, making for a very challenging finish after an otherwise flat course.
If you are looking for something fun to do this weekend, consider signing up for the four person relay with three of your closest running buddies, or the 5k. Online registration closes November 6th at 6pm and same day registration is available. Not running right now? Consider volunteering at one of the water stops or contact Eident Racing to find out where they need help that day.
Race director John Mathews is already looking forward to next year, and hopes that in future years the race will grow and reach its full potential with a cap of 5,000-6,000 runners. He would also like to see the course switch to include more of a scenic route along the water and beaches, something that was difficult to do this first year of the race. Many local runners know that the race date was switched from the original date of November 17, and this was due to a conflict that came up with local police needing to be present at a charity event that weekend.
Matthews hopes this event becomes a staple on the local running scene for years to come, with the first year featuring a flat, fast course for athletes representing 37 states and five countries. “We are not expecting elite times,” Mathews stated. “Just want to get off to a good start.”
For more information on Fort Myers Beach Marathon event, packet pick-up sites, and volunteer opportunities, check out http://www.fortmyersmarathon.com.