Honda Classic Executive Director Commits To Growth Of Annual Endurance Race
K2 Sports Ventures, a new event and consulting firm recently established by Honda Classic Executive Director Kenneth R. Kennerly, has acquired ownership of the former Eau Palm Beach Marathon & Run Fest from the Chamber of Commerce of the Palm Beaches and will revive the traditional event in December 2017.
The race will be renamed the Palm Beaches Marathon, but will still include the traditional Half Marathon and 5K races. It will be held December 1-3, 2017.
Kennerly has partnered with sports event veteran John Mathews of Sunshine State Races to produce the race. Mathews has 30 years of experience in sports marketing and has been staging distance races for more than a decade including the Amica Ironman 70.3 and United Healthcare Marathon in Rhode Island, the Turning Stone Races in New York and the Fort Myers Marathon each November on the Southwest coast of Florida.
"I have always admired The Palm Beaches Marathon and visualized it through the years as an event that could grow to become a prominent fixture in this community, much in the way that the Honda Classic has evolved," Kennerly said. "We have assembled a great team with enormous energy, local knowledge and vision to take this race to new heights and make Palm Beach County an International running destination each December."
Kennerly, who has guided the Honda Classic's rise as an elite PGA TOUR event since taking over management of the tournament in 2007, will continue in his role as the Executive Director of The Honda in addition to owning the Marathon.
"I want to thank the board of Children's Healthcare Charity for supporting my expansion into other event marketing activities," Kennerly said. "Palm Beach County is one of the greatest communities in the country and I hope to create the same magic with the Palm Beaches Marathon that we have been able to sustain with The Honda Classic."
Race founder Iva Grady, who presided over the event for its first nine years from 2004-2012, will return as a Race Consultant to Kennerly and Mathews. Grady has been a runner for 46 years. She was running the New York Marathon in the mid-1990s when the idea crossed her mind of how wonderful it would be if she had a Marathon to run back home in Palm Beach County where the weather was nicer and the views so much prettier. The Chamber of Commerce of the Palm Beaches hired her in 2004 to start the race.
"As the founder of the Marathon of the Palm Beaches and being an active runner, I am extremely happy that Ken Kennerly and his company K2 Sports Ventures will be the new owners of the Palm Beaches Marathon," she said. "Their leadership and experience will benefit runners throughout Florida."
The Chamber sold the event to US Road Sports in 2012, which was then acquired by Life Time Fitness. Life Time returned the Marathon to the Chamber this year so that the Chamber could find local ownership to focus on its production and growth on a year-round basis. A 5K produced by the Chamber December 2 served as a placeholder in 2016.
"The Chamber is excited to sell the Palm Beaches Marathon to a very capable local organization headed by sports marketing executive Ken Kennerly," said Dennis Grady, President of the Palm Beach Chamber. "The local perspective and expertise that Ken's company, K2 Sports Ventures, possesses will help this race become one of the most desirable marathons in Florida.
"Ken has developed a national reputation for his accomplishments in establishing The Honda Classic as one of the premier golf tournaments in America. This experience combined with the fact that he is a local business leader will serve the Palm Beaches Marathon well."
Mathews is excited to innovate and take advantage of the picturesque setting that the water views along Flagler Drive provide to participants.
"Runners are going to love the Palm Beaches Marathon race routes," Mathews said. "They will be flat, fast and beautiful with water views almost the entire way. We can't wait to instill some new elements to the event and the overall race experience."
Kennerly is known locally and nationally for his monstrous success with The Honda Classic, but he also has more than 28 years experience in the sports marketing industry with successful tenures with ProServ, Inc., Advantage International, Inc, Golden Bear International, IGP Sports & Entertainment Group, and IMG. He has been instrumental in the production of numerous professional and amateur tournaments and has specialized in corporate strategic consulting, sporting hospitality programs, and the representation of several top ranked professional golf athletes and media personalities.
Kennerly, who has lived in Jupiter since 1993, is an active member on multiple South Florida Boards including the Palm Beach County Sports Commission, Palm Beach North Chamber of Commerce, Discover The Palm Beaches, The First Tee of the Palm Beaches, South Florida PGA Section, Palm Beach Gardens Police Foundation, and the American Junior Golf Association Foundation, as well as a former Board member of The Benjamin School in North Palm Beach.
For more information on the Palm Beaches Marathon, visit PalmBeachesMarathon.com.
Early bird registration is open at $80 for the Marathon, $60 for the Half Marathon and $25 for the 5K.