LAKEWOOD RANCH -- While Sunday typically is a day of rest, Lakewood Ranch will be busy hosting a half-marathon and a vintage car show, and both are expected to bring crowds to the community along with traffic.
More than 400 runners are registered to take part in the third-annual Suncoast Half Marathon, covering 13.1 miles from Lakewood Ranch's Main Street through the Country Club neighborhoods. In addition, classic-car enthusiasts can browse through an array of vehicles 25 years and older at the annual Devereaux-Kaiser Collector Car Meet, now in its 46th year.
The car show, which is free and hosted by the Sunshine Region Antique Automobile Club of America, is held on the last Sunday of January. More than 1,800 vehicles, vintage 1990 and older, from all over Florida and neighboring states will be on display from 8 a.m. until 3 p.m. at 12205 Rangeland Parkway. Whether an avid collector or new to the hobby, organizers are advising people to come early, since there will be no reserved parking, and to use State Road 70 and Lakewood Ranch Boulevard so as not to encounter delays from the marathon, which begins at 7 a.m.
Runners taking part in the Suncoast Half Marathon, which is expected to last several hours, can start gathering as early as 5:30 a.m. on Main Street. The field will head north on Lakewood
Ranch Boulevard, winding through the Balmoral Woods and Country Club West communities, around the Lakewood Ranch Golf and Country Club, then south to Legacy Boulevard, University Parkway, Lakewood Ranch Boulevard and back north to Main Street.
"Lakewood Ranch is a beautiful venue with easy access and plenty of parking. Lakewood Ranch Main Street is a wonderful host and we are happy to have so many Main Street restaurants involved this year," said Karen Haynes, volunteer coordinator, who added that the marathon will conclude on Main Street with a celebration where those who finish the race will receive medals.
Additionally, the northbound curb-side bus lane of Lakewood Ranch Boulevard will be closed to traffic.
Hidden River Trail will also be closed to traffic from about 5 to 8:30 a.m. Lakewood Ranch residents of Riverwalk Ridge have been notified to exit via Sweet Flag Drive onto Lakewood Ranch Boulevard during this time.
Manatee County Sheriff's deputies will be positioned on the course to direct traffic while volunteer course monitors will direct runners. There will be several aid stations at different locations offering runners free drinks and water.
The Suncoast Half Marathon has become an annual January tradition for the Active Suncoast Foundation, a nonprofit based in Sarasota that seeks to promote, educate and foster active, healthy lifestyles and communities.
Kathryn Moschella, Lakewood Ranch reporter can be reached at 941-745-7010. Follow her on Twitter @MoschellaHerald