The Palm Beaches Marathon Festival with multiple events takes place Friday, December 2 through Sunday, December 4 at the downtown Waterfront Park, CityPlace and along Flagler Drive.   The Palm Beaches Marathon Festival is celebrating its 8th year in 2011.  For the past seven years more than 29,000 runners have participated in the marathon representing every state in the union and more than 48 countries from around the world. Applications for this year’s event indicate strong participation.

The 2011 marathon course will remain the same with the start/finish location at the Waterfront Park between North and South Clematis Street. The beginning of the race will proceed north to Currie Park, loop back downtown along Flagler Drive and continue south to the Lantana Bridge in the Town of Lantana.  Runners will enjoy a course which winds through the neighborhoods of El Cid and College Park, and along tree lined streets that border the intracoastal waterway.  “Our team is excited to be part of this world class event,” said Hank Zemola, co-race director, “as a past director of several other marathons we look forward to working with the community, volunteers and local businesses to produce an exceptional experience for all the participants.”  The Palm Beaches Marathon is also a 2012 Boston Qualifier and is certified by the USATF.

For cycle enthusiasts, The Bill Bone Bike Tour will take place on the same marathon route and start 30 minutes before the main marathon. The 26 mile tour will offer cycling enthusiasts the unique opportunity for a non-stop and closed route ride through some of the most scenic neighborhoods in Palm Beach County,  while offering beautiful views of the Intracoastal Waterway, and of course, that famous South Florida Sunrise. Additionally, the ride will include a 13 mile Family Loop that caters to families with children 12 or older. The Family Loop will utilize the Half Marathon course and will finish back at Clematis Street in downtown West Palm Beach.  Children younger than 12 years old can ride with their parents on the same bike or on a trail-a-bike. This event is not a race and is meant to be a recreational bike tour.

Information about the event schedule is listed below and includes new start times for the Marathon, Half and Relay races.  Click on any of the events for links to the official website information. All races will take place on Sunday, December 4 with staggering start times to accommodate the running field and new Perfect 10K race.

Friday, December 2

12:00 – 7:00 pm                       Publix® Health & Fitness Expo – Harriet Himmel Theatre at CityPlace         

Saturday, December 3

8:00 am – 6:00 pm                   Publix® Health & Fitness Expo – Harriet Himmel Theatre at CityPlace

Sunday, December 4

6:15 a.m.                                 Bill Bone Bike Tour

6:30 a.m.                                 Achilles Wheelchair athletes

6:45 a.m.                                 Marathon/Half/Perfect 10K/Marathon Relay

7:30 a.m.                                 Waterfront 5K/Student Fun Run 5K

7:30 a.m.                                 Wheelchair leisure     

Grandview Gardens Bed & Breakfast and Vacation Homes still has some rooms available for the marathon weekend and is offering a special rate of $ 145 per room per night including breakfast, complimentary wifi and use of bicycles (2 night minimum stay).  Please call 561-833-9023 for more information.