Full Racing Schedule on for this Weekend
By JOHN GREGG, Correspondent, TB Reporter
Icon Bill Rodgers will be present at several events.
TAMPA BAY — A series of local appearances by American running icon Bill Rodgers in conjunction with the Clearwater Distance Classic highlights a full schedule of running events this weekend in the Tampa Bay area.
Rodgers, a four-time winner of both the Boston Marathon and the New York City Marathon, will run in the five- mile event at the Classic on Sunday morning after making a total of five public appearances over the weekend.
His first appearance is today (Jan. 15) from 12:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. at the Fit2Run store at the International Mall in Tampa where he will conduct a meet-and-greet and book signing. Later today, Rodgers will host the Sunset Fun Run beginning at Big Pier 60 in Clearwater Beach at 5 p.m. Saturday morning will see him hosting another run at Big Pier 60, the Sunrise Fun Run, at 7:15 a.m. before traveling to the downtown St. Petersburg Fit2Run location for another meet-and-greet from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
Rodgers will then make one more appearance at the Tampa Fit2Run location from 3:30-5 p.m. After running the 5-miler at the Clearwater Distance Classic at 7:05 a.m.
Sunday, Rodgers will present the awards to the overall and age group winners in the half-marathon and marathon events later in the morning. In addition to these public appearances, Florida Road Races, the organizers of the Clearwater Distance Classic, are auctioning off three opportunities to eat a meal with the icon on EBay.
The Classic which is in its 17th year will stage five races on Sunday, all beginning at Coachman Park in Clearwater. A 50K ultra, a marathon, a half-marathon and the 5-miler will all be contested, with a non-competitive 5K fitness walk also on the docket.
The marquee event of the day is the Clearwater Marathon, the only full marathon in the Tampa Bay area, which was won last year by Chris Yanichko, a 23-year-old full-time medical student from Tampa.
Yanichko, who is a member of the Fit2Run elite team, won the race in a course record time of 2:33:28 and finished more than 25 minutes ahead of second place finisher Robert Strong of Ft. Myers.
To the south in St. Pete Beach, another series of races will be contested at the Walgreens St. Pete Beach Classic. Featuring a half-marathon, a 10K, a 5K, a 3.8-mile beach run and a free kids dash, more than 2,000 runners participated in the event in 2015.
Organizers will also throw a beach party and bonfire with live entertainment on Saturday night. The half-marathon will be held on Sunday with the other races taking place on Sunday. All events take place on the property of Sirata Beach Resort and Conference Center at 5400 Gulf Blvd. in St. Pete Beach.
Finally, in Wesley Chapel at Cypress Creek Preserve, more than 60 ultrarunners will converge to participate in the Long Haul 100 Ultramarathon. One-hundred mile, 100K and 100 furlong (12.5 miles) races will be staged with several top ultrarunners from around Florida expected to compete, including 2015 Pinellas Trail Challenge champion Patrick Hrabos of Sarasota and Dave Krupski of Jacksonville who finished 4th at last year’s Badwater 135, widely considered one of the world’s toughest ultra events.
For more information on all of these events, you can check each race’s website: Clearwater Distance Classic: http://www.clearwaterdistanceclassic.com/index.html
St. Pete Beach Classic: http://stpetebeachclassic.com
Long Haul 100 Ultramarathon: http://longhaul100.com/
Photo: Chris Yanichko from Florida Road Races
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