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Palm Beaches Marathon plans concert, 5k and fireworks

Palm Beaches Marathon

Running will take center stage in downtown West Palm Beach, Palm Beach and Lake Worth December 1-3 as the FITTEAM Palm Beaches Marathon returns to the streets with a new course, new ownership and a freshened experience.

And with an eye toward making the race weekend a community event that extends far beyond simply runners and fitness enthusiasts, organizers have added a Saturday twilight community concert, a Friday night 5K and two nights of downtown fireworks sponsored by the Arrigo group of car dealerships to the schedule.

FPL is sponsoring a concert to say thank you to first responders from recent Hurricane Irma and entertain participants in the FITTEAM Palm Beaches Marathon, their families and friends. The concert name is FPL's Hurricane Heroes Tribute Featuring Sister Hazel and will be hosted at the Meyer Amphitheater on Dec. 2, 2017, beginning at 5 p.m.

For more than 20 years, Sister Hazel has entertained audiences with its alternative rock sound created by five friends from Gainesville. Their music is characterized by highly melodic tunes and blends elements of jangle pop, folk rock, classic rock n' roll and southern rock. The event is free of charge and will feature a Fireworks display over downtown at the conclusion of the concert.

Friday night, the Bill Bone 5K will serve as a warm-up run for runners and walkers at 6:30 p.m. and will also be followed by fireworks. It will begin and end along Flagler Drive at Clematis Street with the Sandi Tree serving as a backdrop.

The Health and Fitness Expo will also be held at City Place in downtown West Palm Beach Friday from 12 noon - 6:00 pm and Saturday from 10:00 am - 6:00 pm. The Expo will feature the latest in health and fitness products and services, running apparel, and upcoming race information.

The daily events will serve as appetizers to the featured Marathon and Half Marathon at 6 a.m. Sunday that features a new fast and flat course built around the waterside beauty of Flagler Drive that makes the FITTEAM Palm Beaches Marathon a unique experience among distance races around the state and country.

The race will begin and end along Flagler in Downtown West Palm Beach and runners who accept the challenge will quickly notice changes from the past when they cross into the Town of Palm Beach as they approach mile marker 3.

The race recently gained approval from the Palm Beach Town Council to allow an early segment of the course to include the island, the first time in the history of Palm Beach marathon racing that runners will actually be allowed to run on Palm Beach. That segment will cross onto the island at the Flagler Memorial Bridge, wind South along the Cocoanut Row bike trail, turn west at Whitehall Way and then South on the Lake Trail, before crossing back into West Palm Beach at the Royal Park Bridge.

After the Palm Beach island leg, runners will head North on Flagler to the Manatee Lagoon where they will turn and then return South to Downtown. Half-Marathon runners will cut off to the Finish Line as Marathon participants continue down to 10th Avenue in Lake Worth before turning back North.

The fun atmosphere of race weekend will be accentuated on Marathon race day with the return of the traditional Wacky Water Stations, another element that makes The FITTEAM Palm Beaches Marathon a unique experience. Area charities and homeowners groups will man 16 themed stations throughout the course. The groups will receive $200 toward their charity for participating and the most creative water station will receive a $1000 prize.

Runners who want to band together to form relay teams can participate in the Relay Division of the race. It will be a four-person relay with legs of 5,7,8 and then 6 miles with awards for Men, Women, Co-ed and Grand Masters teams.

Non-runners who wish to serve as Volunteers can email igrady@palmbeaches.org to join a committee.

K2 Sports Ventures acquired ownership of the former Eau Palm Beach Marathon & Run Fest from the Chamber of Commerce of the Palm Beaches last year. Kennerly, also the Executive Director of The Honda Classic PGA TOUR event in Palm Beach Gardens, 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.

FITTEAM, a Palm Beach Gardens based healthy lifestyle company, and Jupiter Medical Center have signed up as major sponsors. The Arrigo Group of car dealerships is sponsoring the fireworks and will be the race's official automobile and pace car sponsor.

"We are creating one of the premier running experiences in the world," Kennerly said. "It will be a three-day weekend experience for runners and their families to come and enjoy everything we have in Palm Beach County."

For more information on The FITTEAM Palm Beaches Marathon, visit thefitteampalmbeachesmarathon.com. Registration is now open through December 1 at $105 for the Marathon, $85 for the Half Marathon and $40 for the 5K. Onsite registration will be available at $120 for the Marathon, $95 for the Half Marathon and $45 for the 5K.

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