SOLANA BEACH — A 10-mile race that will take runners from Del Mar to Encinitas and back is on the mark to get set and go. Solana Beach council members authorized the city manager at the Jan. 9 meeting to review and process all necessary permit requirements, leaving Peter Douglass, president of event producer Turnkey Operations, with only a few small hurdles to clear before he can begin nationally marketing the California 10/20.
The race was originally slated to take place next month. But when plans were presented this past August, Solana Beach council members asked Douglass to postpone it for a year because most of Coast Highway 101, where the majority of the race will take place, is undergoing renovations that should be complete by this September.
Douglass, co-creator of San Diego’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon and Carlsbad 5,000, agreed to wait and the race is now scheduled for Feb. 16, 2014, a Sunday during the three-day Presidents Day weekend.
Runners will start at the Del Mar Fairgrounds, exit onto Jimmy Durante Boulevard going south, turn around at the fire station, head west on Via de la Valle, then go north on Highway 101 until they reach Manchester Avenue in Encinitas.
They’ll turn around at the Cardiff Kook statue and return along the same path, entering the fairgrounds at the Solana Gate on Via de la Valle.
The course will include 20 stages every half-mile with live music to motivate runners. Six are planned in Solana Beach.
The music will be amplified but only out about 200 feet.
Each band will play for about 45 minutes, starting as the first runner approaches and stopping when the last one goes by.
The race will run from 7:30 to 11 a.m., with Coast Highway 101 closed in both directions beginning at 7 a.m. The northbound lane, however, is expected to reopen by 10 a.m. Runners finishing later than 11 a.m. would be directed to complete the race on sidewalks so all roads will be open by 11 a.m.
After the August meeting, Douglass agreed to host workshops to garner public input. Two were held but neither was well-attended.
Following a recommendation from the city manager, race coordinators and city staff visited businesses and residents that would be impacted by the event. Douglass said the reaction was “incredibly positive.”
“We went to people who we knew were going to be open,” Douglass said. “We went to businesses that were right on the course. We went to areas that had the most impact from the event. We really tried our very best to get this out there and search for the folks that might have the biggest problem with it.
“On our little treks throughout Solana Beach … where we were assigned essentially to go door-to-door on the coastal highway, we did not find one person who was vociferously objecting to what we’re doing,” he said.
“We had a very detailed description of what we had planned — the course map, the timelines, the impacts involved. We were not searching for people to give us yeses. We were really searching for people to give us nos.”
Based on a similar race he produces in Austin, Texas, Douglass said the event will have a positive economic impact on the area.
He is expecting between 10,000 and 12,000 participants, with registration capped at 12,000 runners. About 30 percent will likely come from outside the area, meaning hotel rooms should be filled, he said.
The event will begin Friday with an expo at the fairgrounds, where most people will park. Runners and their families and friends usually check out the course beforehand. They dine and shop while doing so, as well as after the race, Douglass said.
Solana Beach was set to vote on granting the conditional use permit at the Jan. 9 meeting but the traffic control plan wasn’t complete. Once submitted, it will be reviewed by the Sheriff’s Department, Public Works and the city manager.
Douglass must also get final approval from council members in Del Mar and Encinitas, but officials in those two cities overall supported the plan when it was presented in August.
Douglass also plans to donate a total of $30,000 to nonprofit organizations in each city. Council members agreed with a recommendation from colleague Lesa Heebner that Douglass continues the 10/20 theme by giving $10,000 to the other two cities and $20,000 to Solana Beach because it will be most impacted by the race.
“My mind is certainly open,” Douglass said.
While council members were unanimous in their support to move forward to allow the event, Tom Campbell said he was skeptical.
“When it’s over we need to have the ability to sit down and really evaluate it, see what worked, what didn’t work, because if this is not truly providing an economic benefit and it’s turning out to be a big pain in the fanny for our residents we need to rethink it,” he said.
Mayor Mike Nichols said if it is successful, the city should also set a policy to limit the number of races annually.
All Solana Beach residents will receive information regarding the race 30 days before the event by mailers and eblasts.