The race is already two months away and we are hard at work making it a great experience for you. We have had some route challenges over the past few months, but have worked through the issues. The major challenge that we had to overcome was getting approval from the Sheriff's Office to support our event with law enforcement officers. We contacted them in June of 2015 and started the process. For our other running events, the process was complete in only a few months time. Before our request could be reviewed, we had to submit a certified, engineered traffic management plan. The plan for the original 26 mile route cost us $18,000. It was determined that this route was not suitable for runner safety and exceeded the number of officers available. As discussed in our last post, we cut the route down to 13 miles and submitted another certified, engineered traffic management plan for that route with an additional cost of $2,100. It was determined that this route was also not manageable with our limited law enforcement resources. At this point, we cut the route in half again to a 6.5 mile out & back course.
Also part of our agreement with the Sheriff's Office to support our event was the stipulation that we move it to a non-profit event. This means that myself (the Race Director) will not get paid for the hundreds and hundreds of hours I have put into making this event happen. I did not anticipate making a profit this year, but was hoping that would be an option in the coming years. We have moved this event under our 501(c)3 public charity, Destin 50 Beach Ultra Inc. This is our outstanding charity that just raised $60,000 for the Special Operations Warrior Foundation this past weekend with the Destin Beach Ultra Runs (with only 150 runners!). We hope we can exceed that amount for the Navy SEAL Foundation with this marathon.
Although not ideal, this shortened route offers great beach-side running, the stunning views of the Destin Harbor when crossing over the Destin Bridge, a run along Destin Harbor and the opportunity to change races at the mid-point if someone decides not to continue for the full marathon. That change to switch mid-race makes it an idea event for first time marathon runners. We are still working with The Boardwalk and Harborwalk Village to determine where the start/finish of the race will be. This will mostly be determined by parking and facilities for the post-race party.
We want to thank you for sticking with us and being positive through all these changes. As a runner, I know it is tough to have these changes so close to the race, but we are determined to put on a great event for you no matter what. It is going to be a very busy couple of months working with this new route. We will keep you updated constantly on our Facebook and here as often as possible. Shortly the votes for your bib design and shirt design will be up for you to choose. Keep on running and we will keep on working hard for you!
Zane Holscher shows you what it takes to put on a successful running event. In archived blogs, you are taken behind the scenes for a peek into the making of a marathon through the eyes of the race director.