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Posted: September 2, 2009  : Add to Mixx! Subscribe to stories like this

Athletics: USATF of Florida Awards Melbourne Marathon Weekend 3 State Championship Races

Melbourne, Fla. -- Adding to the allure of the State Farm Melbourne & Beaches Music Marathon weekend set for next February, the USA Track & Field Association's Florida chapter has announced that its 2010 state championship 8-k, Half-Marathon and Marathon championship races will be held in Melbourne in conjunction with the weekend-long runfest.

The State Farm Melbourne & Beaches Music Marathon debuted this past February and was so well received that organizers and the city opted to expand it from a Sunday run to a Saturday & Sunday event that features the Florida Today 5-k & 8-k on Saturday and the half-marathon and marathon on Sunday. The inaugural event saw an estimated 25,000 spectators and almost 2,000 runners take to the streets of Melbourne, the beachside and its bridges in what the Melbourne-Palm Bay Chamber of Commerce dubbed, " Melbourne's Signature Sporting event."

In a near unprecedented move for a first time event and thanks largely to Florida's wintertime climate, the USATF awarded the 2009 race its National Championship Masters Half- Marathon; an act that immediately put Melbourne on national running maps and on the agenda of the nation's top distance runners age 40 and over. The USATF announced this past spring that Melbourne will remain the host site of the Masters Half- Marathon Championships through 2012.

2009's list of competing elite Master runners included 4-time Boston and New York City Marathon winner Bill Rodgers, 1984 Boston Marathon winner Greg Meyer, top contenders Sean Wade and Dennis Simonaitis and winner Paul Aufdemberge. Former world record holder, Olympian and running icon Colleen DeReuck was the winning woman. Most of these runners will be back in Melbourne in 2010 along with the recent addition of another former Olympian and running legend; Zola Budd.

"Having the USATF award us these state championship races in addition to the national one is incredible and an acknowledgement of all the city and community support that led to the creation and success of our State Farm Melbourne & Beaches Music Marathon and Florida Today 5-k and 8-k," said event founder Mitch Varnes.

"USATF-Florida is delighted to have Melbourne host our 8-k, half- marathon and marathon championships. This event is well organized and boasts a scenic waterfront course in the beautiful surrounds of Melbourne," noted USATF-Florida Long Distance Running Chairman Joe Monks. "We are indeed excited to be affiliated with this great weekend of racing for family and friends."

The State Farm Melbourne & Beaches Music Marathon kicks off on Saturday, February 6, 2010 with the free Ronald McDonald's Kids Run and the Florida Today 5-k and 8-k races. The half-marathon and marathon will take place on Sunday, February 7. Information and race applications are available online at www.themelbournemarathon.com.


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