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DeSoto Historical Society plans half marathon for Bradenton

In this file photo, 5K runners near the finish line as onlookers cheer before the start of the DeSoto Heritage Festival Grand Parade.
In this file photo, 5K runners near the finish line as onlookers cheer before the start of the DeSoto Heritage Festival Grand Parade. FILE PHOTO

With an eye on creating a new trademark event, the Hernando DeSoto Historial Society is working to bring a half-marathon to Bradenton this fall.

“Bradenton has not had a signature event like this for our Manatee County runners, and the Hernando DeSoto Historical Society is proud to be putting this together,” race director Stacey Romano said in a statement.

The Bradenton Area Half Marathon will run along Manatee River on a 13.1-mile course with a 6:30 a.m. start Oct. 15. A one-mile fun run has a 7 a.m. start time.

The nonprofit historical society honors Spanish explorer Hernando De Soto’s landing along the Manatee River in 1539. The month-long DeSoto Heritage Festival includes the Seafood Festival, a children’s parade and the Grand Parade.

“Our plan is to involve the whole community to the extent that we can along the course,” Romano said, adding they’re hoping local high school cheerleaders and bands will help provide entertainment and encouragement for runners.

Romano said they’ve working with the Florida Department of Transportation, local law enforcement agencies and local government agencies to acquire all the proper permits for road closures.

DeSoto is working with the Manatee County Tourist Development Council, Fit 2 Run and the Bradenton Runners Club and hopes to involve more organizations as planning continues.

“We are fortunate enough to have many local and national sports teams in our area that we will invite to the event along with their mascots in support,” Romano said. “We are also reaching out to other crewe’s (such as the Privateers and Rough Riders) to invite them to bring their floats and provide entertainment along the course.”

Some of the proceeds will go to the Conquistador Historical Foundation, which provides grants and scholarships to local organizations and students.

Meghin Delaney: 941-745-7081, @MeghinDelaney

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