Tampa Bay’s appeal as a sports destination, as well as its presence as a breezy coastal community, will be showcased during the 13th Annual Florida Holiday Halfathon held on December 14, 2014. The point-to-point race is put on by Florida Road Races, a family-owned and operated business led by husband-and-wife team Chris and Rya Lauber.
The scenic 13.1 mile course begins in Madeira Beach and ends in Taylor Park in Largo. Runners are toured through Tampa Bay's beach communities and residential neighborhoods, as well as along the Pinellas Trail in a course that displays the region's natural beauty. The race course has been measured and certified by the USA Track & Field (USATF).
Last year's Holiday Halfathon saw an impressive 963 total finishers and based on current registration numbers, Florida Road Races officials expect this year’s event to grow by at least 50% from 2013. With the average temperatures in December in Tampa Bay ranging from a high of 72 to a low of 52, the Holiday Halfathon an ideal race for athletes who wish to compete during the colder months. Additionally, the mid-December date makes the race perfectly timed for runners training for the Walt Disney World, Miami and Clearwater marathons or the Gasparilla Distance Classic.
As the Holiday Halfathon is a festive race, many athletes dress in holiday garb to play up the spirit of the season. Chris Lauber, Florida Road Races’ Director, dresses as Santa and makes an appearance to hand out awards to overall age group winners, and Santa's volunteer elves present every finisher with a custom-designed running starfish medal. There is a post-race “Pasta Party” with food, beverages and live music provided by local supporters.
The Holiday Halfathon is one of the oldest half marathons in the State of Florida, a distance that is quickly becoming more and more popular. According to the Running USA State of the Sports Report, the half-marathon has become the fastest growing standard distance, with the number of half-marathon finishers increasing by 307% since 2000. In 2014, there were nearly 2 million finishers in half marathons across the US, and there were more than 2,100 active half marathons. Since 2010, the half-marathon has become the second most popular distance by finishers, coming in second to the 5K. (2)
16th Annual Clearwater Distance Classic: 50K Ultra, Marathon, Halfathon, 5-Miler, 5K Walkathon on January 18, 2015;
6th Annual Florida Beaches Halfathon & 5K, Ft. De Soto Park on March 22, 2015.
More information on the 13th Annual Florida Holiday Halfathon can be found at www.floridaholidayhalfathon.com/.
About Florida Road Races: Founded in St. Petersburg, Florida in 2000, Florida Road Races is a family-owned race management company that creates, plans, markets and executes road races in Tampa Bay. Led by husband and wife team Chris and Rya Lauber, the company’s mission is to promote a healthy, active lifestyle, as well as generate a positive economic impact for Tampa Bay’s tourism industry and showcase the coastal lifestyle, while raising funds for worthy non-profits. For more information, visit www.floridaroadraces.com.
Thalji, Jamal. "Pinellas Officially a 'high Tourism Impact' County Thanks to Strong 2013 Bed Taxes." Tampa Bay Times. N.p., 21 Feb. 2014. Web. 17 Nov. 2014. tampabay.com/news/business/tourism/pinellas-officially-a-high-tourism-impact-county-thanks-to-strong-2013-bed/2166852.
"Running USA's Annual Half-Marathon Report | Running USA." Running USA's Annual Half-Marathon Report | Running USA. N.p., 6 Apr. 2014. Web. 17 Nov. 2014. runningusa.org/index.cfm?fuseaction=news.details&ArticleId=333.