Sunday, December 7, 2014 • West Palm Beach, FL
Run on a course that winds along the picturesque Intracoastal Waterway next to Lake Worth in West Palm Beach, the Palm Beaches Marathon Festival offers no shortage of beautiful vistas for runners in the full and half marathon events, as well as its relay, 5K and 10K races.
Fast, mostly flat and run along paved surfaces, both courses start in downtown West Palm Beach and take runners on a tour of nearby cities and neighborhoods, including historic El Cid neighborhood and the historic Old Northwood community, as well as of the yachts and mansion homes of nearby Palm Beach.
As its name suggests, the 13.1-mile race is part of a true “festival” of running and cycling events which include a full marathon, full marathon relay, half marathon, 26-mile bike tour, 10K and a 5K. While the full marathon and relay are for runners only, walkers are welcome and encouraged to sign up for the half marathon, organizers note.
From the starting line at the Meyer Amphitheater on West Palm Beach’s scenic intracoastal waterway, the race takes runners first in a southward direction, running along breezy, palm tree-lined Flagler Drive and Washington Road for the race’s first several miles.
Runners pass the Royal Park Bridge and the bridge at Southern Boulevard, running along the water the entire way, until they reach the turn at Gregory Road. There, they turn right (west) and head up past South Olive Park to the Olive Avenue, where they begin the long straightaway northwards toward the finish line.
Once the field of runners hits the campus of Palm Beach Atlantic College, they make a turn left and head back over to Flagler Drive, running again past the Royal Park Bridge on the way toward the finish line in front of the amphitheater.
Because the course is run at sea level along the water, there’s almost no elevation change at any point during the race, though runners will need to bring plenty of sunscreen as the race can get quite sunny.
In both the full marathon and the half marathon, runners start their race at 6:30 AM, and the course will have a time limit of 6 hours for those running the 26.2-mile race.
For the half marathon, the course time limit is 3 hours, 30 minutes — which means you’ll need to keep a pace of 16 minutes per mile or better. At each mile marker during the race, organizers will post a notice of the event status in green, yellow or red, based on the event weather conditions — such as excessive heat, or severe weather that could impact the race.
Race Weather & Climate
Thanks partly to its proximity to the waters of the Atlantic Ocean, the West Palm Beach area tends to see mild to moderately warm temperatures in early winter, with December temperatures averaging between 60°F and 76°F. December precipitation averages just over 3.1 inches during the month, and is the city’s second driest month of the year.
On the day of the race (Dec. 7), the average low is 61°F and the average high is 77°F.
See race website
To reserve your spot in any of the race distances at the early December 2014 running of West Palm Beach’s Palm Beaches Marathon Festival, register online at the event website.