Sunday, February 21, 2016 • Tampa, FL • Course Map
Run through the city streets of this city overlooking the waters of Tampa, Florida’s Hillsborough Bay at the Gasparilla Distance Classic, which includes a full slate of running events for runners at all levels, including a half marathon, 8K, 15K and 5K.
Mostly fast and flat and great for beginners, the race’s half marathon and 8K races take place on Sunday, while the 15K and 5K races are run on Saturday. The race also features a slew of challenge and team events.
Organized by the Gasparilla Distance Classic Association to raise funding for the Challenged Athletes Foundation, the race saw more than 19,000 runners and walkers come out to take the streets of Tampa over the two-day weekend of races in 2013 in all races combined.
From the starting line in downtown Tampa at the corner of Platt and Parker Streets, the half marathon — presented by Sports Authority — takes the field on a winding course, the first half of which follows a circuitous route around Davis Island, which lies just to the southwest of downtown.
After running southward along Channel Drive, which runs alongside the waters of the city’s Seddon Channel, the course then runs around the southern end of the island and back toward downtown across the Davis Islands Bridge for the second half of the race.
Most of this stretch takes runners along Bayshore Boulevard, with the open expanse of the gorgeously scenic Hillsborough Bay over the runners’ shoulders in both directions. The course takes runners all the way out to the intersection with West Julia Street, and then turns around and heads back along Bayshore to the finish line.
Participants in the half marathon will be expected to keep a pace of 16 minutes per mile or better, as the roadways will close for race participants and re-open to traffic after 4 hours. If they haven’t completed the first five miles by 7:25 AM — the scheduled starting time for the half is 6:15 AM – runners will be asked to move to the sidewalk in order to finish their race.
Race Weather & Climate
Thanks partly to its proximity to the Gulf of Mexico, the Tampa area tends to see mild to moderately warm temperatures and some of its driest weather in February, a month that has seen record temperatures here as low as 24 degrees (in 1958) and as high as 88 degrees (in 1971).
On the day of the race (Feb. 21), the average low is 55ºF and the average high is 73ºF.
- 6:15 AM – half marathon
- 9:30 AM – 8K
- $85 before January 8, 2016
- $95 between Jan. 9 – February 14
- $105 at the race expo on Feb. 19 – 20 (if available)
To reserve your spot in the late winter 2016 running of Tampa’s Gasparilla Distance Classic Half Marathon, 10K, 5K, 5K or 8K race, register online at imATHLETE.com here.
Official Race Website
Ever run in the Gasparilla Distance Classic? Share your impressions here, or post your review in the Comments box below.