• $12,000 Prize money
• Emphasis on Masters Divisions
• 20 live bands along course
• One of final qualifiers for 2009 Boston Marathon
• Scenic course during height of Florida winter season
MELBOURNE, FL (August 12) — Marathoning legend Bill Rodgers will join runners from the United States and world at the inaugural Melbourne & Beaches Music Marathon Sunday, February 8, 2009 on Florida’s scenic Space Coast.
Rodgers, the only person to win both the Boston and New York marathons four times, will compete in the Masters Half-Marathon while lending his expertise and accomplishments to the newest major certified marathon and half-marathon on the international calendar.
“It’s going to be a great race for everyone,” said Rodgers, who continues to hold numerous Open and Masters U.S. road-racing records. “The location, the time of year, people coming to Florida from colder climates, the fact this race is putting an emphasis on Masters runners in addition to the open runners … it’s a nice change of pace. I’m really looking forward to running. This is a good race for the sport as a whole.”
The Melbourne & Beaches Music Marathon (www.themelbournemarathon.com), Melbourne’s Signature Sporting Event, will feature $12,000 in prize money—$8,000 in the Masters divisions—and 20 live bands of all music varieties. The marathon and half-marathon will utilize the intracoastal waterway bridges while winding along two of Florida’s most familiar and picturesque roads, the Old Dixie Highway (US 1) along the intracoastal waterway, and AIA along the beachside barrier island. There will also be a 5K race through downtown Melbourne.
All three races will finish in downtown Melbourne—followed by an awards ceremony and street party featuring another live band.
"Our little corridor of East Central Florida has long deserved a classic running event of its own," said event director Mitch Varnes. "There are some very good regional events around here but nothing like we are planning for the Melbourne & the Beaches. We've had tremendous enthusiasm and support from the community, and our focus on the Masters, the course's route along the Indian River and all the bands should make this a pretty special run."
Added Chuck Galy, President of the Melbourne-Palm Bay Area Chamber of Commerce, “The Melbourne-Palm Bay Area Chamber of Commerce is very excited to have the Melbourne & Beaches Music Marathon set to take here in Melbourne. To have a top quality event like this through which to showcase our area is fantastic! We are confident that this event will quickly grow in reputation and popularity.
“From the chamber’s business standpoint, the event is sure to bring many new visitors to our area – visitors who will stay in our hotels, dine in our restaurants, and shop in our stores. These visitors will get to discover the beauty of South Brevard – and we’re confident that when they do, they will want to come back again and will also tell others all about us.”
Both the marathon and half-marathon courses will be USA Track & Field-certified courses, with Champion Chip Timing. This is of particular importance for runners trying to qualify for the 2009 Boston Marathon, as the Melbourne & Beaches Music Marathon will be one of the last opportunities to do so.
With the prize money emphasis on the Masters divisions, Varnes anticipates that many of the nation’s elite 40-and-over men and women runners will tackle the Melbourne course. One of those, Rodgers, sees the Melbourne & Beaches Music Marathon as the nation’s newest elite masters competition.
“This emphasis on the Masters divisions should get people to travel to Florida and create a great race. With the beaches and music added, we’re looking at something that could be pretty big,” Rodgers said. “Running is unique in that people can reach high levels of performance at older ages, and this race will bring that out.”
Race officials are placing an emphasis on early-bird registration. Entry fees are $70 for the marathon, $55 for the half-marathon and $25 for the 5K. From October 1 to November 30, those fees change to $80, $65 and $25, respectively. Registration fees will increase further on December 1. Registration is available on the official website, www.themelbournemarathon.com or on www.marathonguide.com.
The Melbourne & Beaches Music Marathon is sponsored by the Space Coast Board of Tourism, Melbourne Chamber of Commerce, Florida Today, Melbourne International Airport, Delta Airlines, Crowne Plaza Melbourne Oceanfront, Health First, Space Coast Credit Union, and Beachside Performance Health Studio, AG Edwards Flammio & Schultz Financial Group, WFIT and Space Coast Living Magazine. Charitable beneficiaries are Lance Armstrong’s LiveStrong Foundation and the Brevard Symphony Orchestra.
The Melbourne & Beaches Music Marathon is produced by Smooth Running Productions. For more information, contact Mitch Varnes at 321-777-9935 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.