Suncoast half marathon set for Lakewood Ranch on Sunday

jajones1@bradenton.comJanuary 23, 2013 

LAKEWOOD RANCH -- When residents of Lakewood Ranch go to pick up their Lakewood Ranch Herald from their driveways Sunday morning, they may see something a little out of the ordinary -- several hundred runners grinding out a half marathon.

The Suncoast Half Marathon, a 13.1-mile race, starting and finishing at Lakewood Ranch Main Street, will be run through many Ranch neighborhoods, including Summerfield, Riverwalk, Country Club North, Country Club South and Country Club West.

The race starts at 7 a.m.

Hidden River Trail will be closed to vehicular traffic 5-8:30 a.m.

Among the 340 runners who had registered as of Tuesday were many from Bradenton, Lakewood Ranch and Parrish, as well as others from as far away as the United Kingdom and Chicago, said Karen Haynes, event director for the not-for-profit Active Suncoast Foundation.

The field is expected to

grow as registration ends today.

Why would anyone want to run 13.1 miles?

"You get 100 different reasons if you ask 100 people," Haynes said.

"For some it is an end goal, for others it is a step to somewhere else," perhaps a full marathon, she said.

Add to the list of reasons why: fitness, weight loss and stress control.

The half marathon has been a topic of discussion among Lakewood Ranch district supervisors who want to ensure the public knows about the change in their Sunday routine.

Eva Rey, executive director of Lakewood Ranch Town Hall, said event coordinators have been working with law enforcement and that neighborhood boards and community leaders have been notified and asked to spread the word.

In addition to the public being able to cheer the runners on, they can also visit the free Health & Fitness Expo 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday. The expo is being hosted by Lakewood Ranch Running Club and Gold Coast Eagle Distributing, at the Gold Coast Eagle Conference Center, 7051 Wireless Court, Lakewood Ranch.

Fitness demonstrations, product sampling and door prizes are planned.

As there will be no registrations accepted on race day, runners are asked to visit the expo area to pick up their race packet and bib number with timing device.

For more information, visit http://www.activesuncoast.org/Suncoast_Half_Marathon.html

James A. Jones Jr., East Manatee editor, can be contacted at 941-745-7021 or tweet @jajones1

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