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It’s a no go for 10/20 race in Encinitas

ENCINITAS — It’s back to the drawing board for organizers of a musical-themed 10-mile foot race, as the Encinitas City Council blocked use of its stretch of Coast Highway for the event.

But a representative of the race said the June 25 meeting was a mistake, and is hoping the council will reconsider the decision at its next meeting.

A divided council voted 3-2 to deny the request by the organizers of the California 10/20, which was slated to take runners from Del Mar to Encinitas and back on Feb. 15. The council majority cited a lack of a commitment to contribute to the Cardiff Mainstreet 101 Association and other local groups and closure of Coast Highway as the chief reason for the denial.

The race is named for the 10-mile course, which last year spanned from the Del Mar Fairgrounds to Cardiff-by-the-Sea and back to the fairgrounds, and the 20 bands that perform to the racers on stages throughout the course.

Peter Douglass, the race’s organizer, said that was a mistake. Douglass did not attend the June 25 meeting, and said his associates were not familiar with the group’s philanthropic plans, which he said do include a donation to the group, as well as other organizations.

Last year, Douglass’ company donated $10,000 to the business group.

Douglass, who co-founded the San Diego Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon, said the group needed to secure city approval before it could negotiate the amount of the donation with the MainStreet association.

He said he will be at the July 9 council meeting to request the council reconsider the vote.

“It was definitely a misunderstanding, my group didn’t do a good job with its presentation to the council,” Douglass said Monday. “We followed through last year with our pledges to donate to local groups, and will do the same this year.”

While Douglass’ comments appear to address the issue with the donation, there is still the concern about closing the Cardiff section of Coast Highway, the second such closure scheduled for February.

“They are an out-of-town organization that would cause a negative impact to our businesses, who will be dealing with a closure two weeks before this race,” Councilwoman Lisa Shaffer said.

That closure, on Feb. 2, is associated with the Cardiff Kook Run, the locally organized 10K and 5K race for which the City Council unanimously approved its closure request the same night it denied the 10/20’s.

Shaffer said she voted for the Kook’s request because of its local roots and the fact it is in its 15th year, compared to the 10/20’s second running.

“They were here first,” Shaffer said. “It is too much to ask the Cardiff merchants to have Coast Highway cut off twice in the same month.”

Douglass said the group is willing to work with the city to alleviate their concerns about the street closure, including possibly making slight alternations to the course.

“It’s not out of the question,” Douglass said. “We want to be a good neighbor and partner with the city and will do what we need to do to preserve that relationship.”