Cocoa, FL (April 3) -- Former Olympian and "America's Coach", Jeff Galloway, will return for the 38th running of the Space Coast Marathon and Half on Sunday, November 29 in Cocoa Village. The course, which is Florida's oldest -- and the nation's only -- space-themed marathon and half, treats participants to spectacular beauty as it winds along the shady banks of the Indian River.
"This is a well-run event, in a beautiful part of the world," said the former Olympian, who has run more than 120 marathons and has coached more than 200,000 athletes from around the globe to do the same. "I believe that this race is one of the hidden treasures in the world of marathons."
But the secret is getting out.
Since Galloway's initial visit four years ago, Runners World magazine has dubbed the event "Race of the Month" (2008) as well as the race with the "Best Schwag" (2007).
"I believe that we have one of the most unique marathons in the nation," said Don Piercy, co-owner of Running Zone, the event's race management company. "As the race is held within the shadow of the Kennedy Space Center, our entire event revolves around a space theme. What other race offers a race start with a Space Shuttle countdown and liftoff on a Jumbotron or a chance to take a picture with the astronauts?"
"There are Space props along the course and at the finish; volunteers in NASA-like uniforms and space- themed aid stations. In addition, all finishers receive the most awesome astronaut medal and a 'space certificate' to recognize their accomplishment."
And it is not just the space theme that has caused event participation to more than triple since 2005. Post-race athlete surveys conducted in 2007 and 2008 showed that participants believed both the Space Coast Marathon and Half provide the biggest bang for the buck in terms of value, experience and individual support.
"Both my wife, Denise, and I are runners," said Piercy. "We care about each and every participant and want to make sure that each person feels special, has great course support and a wonderful experience at our event. You're not just a number at our race."
Here's what participants can expect throughout this year's space-themed weekend:
- Jeff Galloway -- keynote speaker
- Two-day health and fitness expo
- Pace teams to help set a personal record
- Official long-sleeve moisture-wicking, technical race shirts
- Corral starts and ChampionChip timing on a USATF-certified course (Boston qualifier)
- Aid stations at every mile
- Large beach towels with race logo to all finishers
- Astronaut medals and 'space certificates' to all finishers
- A full pancake, egg & sausage breakfast plus pizza for all finishers
- Photo opportunities with astronauts at the pre-race dinner and race site.
For more information or to register for the race, visit www.spacecoastmarathon.com.
The Space Coast Marathon enjoys generous sponsorship from All Media Graphics, Bright House Networks, Brooks Sports, Cumulus Radio, the Cocoa Cola Company, Culligan Water, Florida Today newspaper, Four Points by Sheraton, Health First Health Plans, Kennedy Space Center, the Maxwell C. King Performing Arts Center, Radisson Resort at the Port, Sandpiper Sportwear, Space Coast Office of Tourism and Space Coast Runners.