A February favorite is the Metro Diner / Sarasota Music half marathon. Our third year running this beautiful and fun course. We signed up for this year’s race over a year in advance and got in at a low $49 for the half marathon and last year they add the 10k level for those who wanted to run a shorter distance. This race has grown in the few years we ran it and the first few miles were a bit crowded and then once we were up and over the bridge it thinned some for the second half because some runners were on the 10k track and the rest of us kept going along the half marathon course. Now the title of the half marathon is the Sarasota Music Half Marathon. In the first couple of years this race was packed with bands, DJ’s, and solo guitar players, and singers. It was a disappointing this year that there weren’t a lot of music to keep us motivated and entertained.
I don’t like writing a less than review of an event but I think some things went wrong this year. Last year we were one of the first 1000 people to sign up for the 2019 race and with the sign up we were supposed to get an “In training shirt.” After we signed up we never heard back from anyone and never received our shirts. Not that I really need another race shirt, but one of the perks for signing up early was not only to take advantage of the $49 price but also extra swag came with it. Now to the event day itself, first the traffic around the event was crazy. The construction project that began a year or so ago seemed to multiply close to the start /finish line (Which was at the Van Wezeltheater). Interestingly when I checked my Garmin watch at the finish the course this year was shortened. My Garmin watch is very accurate and this year when I crossed the finish line it read 12.98 miles, as opposed to last year’s 13.15 miles. The course appeared to be the same with no changes from last year, however, the only change was the massive construction and I’m willing to bet that cut the course short. I spoke with others who had the same reading from their watches and said the distance was shorter than 13.1 miles.
Now that I got all the negatives off my chest let me talk about all the positives of this race. And yes, I signed up again for next year at the $49 price (it has gone up to $82.18 since, and will increase again after Mar 31st) , so we will be back. The parking for the event was plentiful and we parked close to the start/finish line in the theater parking lot. The police directed traffic into the parking lot and we arrived on time and safely. As I mentioned earlier this course is beautiful as we run up the causeway just before sunrise.
The year before we ran through the garden and that part was wonderful. I’m not sure why it changed last year, I’m assuming runners weren’t allowed in the garden. As we ran up and over the causeway and around old town and back up and over the causeway again (which is close to the halfway point) we ran through a beautiful neighborhood. Last year there were more people out cheering on the runners more music, but still a fun and scenic. And then we looped around heading back and ran along the bay.
I can’t say enough about the beauty of the course and finish line party. I have to admit this event has the best after race party and food. The full breakfast includes eggs, bacon, bagels, muffins, fruit, and so much more. Even though this year seemed to have some bumps it still was an incredible race and I beat last years’ time by about 10 minutes. All in all this is one of the best races in Florida and a great place to be in February. The 2020 date is Feb 2nd put it on your calendar.