Monday, May 20, 2019

The Palm Beaches Marathon: A 26.2 mile race that has yet to reach its potential.


The Palm Beaches Marathon will be held in early December later this year. This full marathon, the 26.2 mile race route has been slightly improved over the years but not by much. For example, there is no beach along the full marathon route. Not one single beach.

Should this race be called the Palms Marathon instead? There are plenty of beautiful palm trees along the race route but not one single beach.

West Palm Beach is the star each year for the Palm Beaches Marathon but West Palm does not have a beach. Lake Worth Beach has a beach but each and every year the full marathon falls short of our beach. What LWB should do is what the Town of Palm Beach did: tell the organizers of the Palm Beaches Marathon to go pound sand somewhere else. Later in this blog post is information about all that.

For residents and business owners in this City of Lake Worth that’s where you come in. Start lobbying now for a better presence and a better stage for our City in this year’s race and years beyond. Our City deserves an equal seat at the table, not just race infill or an afterthought.

The Town of Palm Beach rejected the Palm Beaches Marathon last year. They said it wasn’t “town-serving”. Our City of Lake Worth needs to demand this annual race serve our City better than it has in the past. How many in the public and those in the running community even know part of the full 26.2 mile marathon goes through this little City?

Several City neighborhoods are included in the race and all are east of Dixie Hwy. and the runners never even get one single glimpse of the Lake Worth Lagoon off the shores of LWB. Runners will see a lot of the Intracoastal in West Palm (No Beach) though. Ironic. It’s not called the West Palm Beach Lagoon for a reason.

Question: Did you know of all the types of races in the Palm Beaches Marathon event lineup (there are several of different length and skill level), the biggest and by far the most popular is the 26.2 mile race called a full marathon as opposed to a half marathon and other shorter races.

Organizers hope this annual event will some day rise to the level of the Boston and New York marathons.

But for this City the full marathon is basically race infill. Race designers picking the streets and turns to make it exactly 26.2 miles. The race does not make it to the Casino at the Beach. The race does not make it to either of our iconic Downtown streets: Lake and Lucerne avenues. The race doesn’t even come close to the Cultural Plaza. How sad.

Remember, last year the Town of Palm Beach rejected the Palm Beaches Marathon. Their elected leaders called it not “town-serving”. That’s right. Rejected. Get out of town.

So what are residents, business and restaurant owners in this City of Lake Worth to do? Here are several ideas:

Start contacting the Cultural Council of Palm Beach County, your elected leaders here in the City of Lake Worth, and the good folks at LULA Lake Worth Arts and tell them you want the 2019 Palm Beaches Marathon to be more “town-serving” for our City.


What happened in the Town of Palm Beach last year? Why did they reject the race?


How we got to this point starting off with the news in the Palm Beach Daily News.

In August 2018 organizers of this marathon had a glimmer of hope the Town of Palm Beach would allow the race to enter the town according to journalist William Kelly at the Shiny Sheet. But those hopes were dashed on August 15th.


Deputy Town [of Palm Beach] Manager Jay Boodheshwar said marathon organizers must meet several conditions to receive a special event permit from the council that would allow bringing the marathon into town. Councilman Lew Crampton suggested last week that marathon organizers make a donation to the town in return for being able to bring the race here. [emphasis added]

and. . .


     “It’s not in the interest, I think, of our residents,” Lindsay [Councilwoman Bobbie Lindsay] said. “It’s a small town, it’s quiet, they’re here to have peace and quiet … it’s a drain on our police and also the rest of our staff.”


Here is more news from reporter Ian Cohen at the Shiny Sheet, more excerpts:


The Town Council on Wednesday [8/15/2018] voted 4-1 to reject a permit request by the marathon’s managing director, Kenneth Kennerly, to allow the annual race to run through about 1.2 miles of town.

and. . .


     “It’s the weekend after Thanksgiving. The president [U.S. President Donald Trump] will be in town,” Moore [Council President Danielle Moore] said. “This would just be another piece of a very complicated weekend in Palm Beach. It causes me great consternation to think about the things that could possibly go wrong.”


The Lake Worth Tropical Triathlon every year uses the Robert Harris (“Lake Worth”) Bridge and the Casino as part of the course for runners. So why can’t the organizers of the Palm Beaches Marathon find a route to include our Casino in this City?

In 2017 it was sort of like the organizers tweaked the race to make it exactly 26.2 miles and that was our City’s only role. The stars of the show, of course, were the Town of Palm Beach and West Palm Beach.

About the race two years ago from the organizers of the Palm Beaches Marathon:


“We [2017 Palm Beaches Marathon] have worked to improve the course from previous years, in order to make the route the best and most scenic as possible. The Marathon course will be a Boston Qualifier, and fast, flat and beautiful. For the first time in the event’s 14 year history we will be crossing into the Town of Palm Beach!”



Below is the Lake Worth leg of the
2017 full marathon race.


Click on image to enlarge:

Full marathon runners in 2017 entered the City, headed east on Duke Dr., then south on Lakeside Drive to 10th Ave. North. and then at the turn exiting the City on Federal Hwy.

In 2018 runners ran seven blocks further south prior to the turnaround. To see the 2018 map of the full marathon race click on this link.


The Palm Beaches Marathon in 2019?


Make your voice heard! Further on over the bridge to the Lake Worth Casino!