Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

City officials celebrate economic impact of Rock 'n' Roll St. Pete Half Marathon

ST. PETERSBURG — The news conference formally announcing the inaugural Rock 'n' Roll St. Pete Half Marathon had the vibe of a hip summer party.

With a rock band playing in the background, a few dozen area leaders flocked to the top of the Pier on Tuesday morning to hear Mayor Bill Foster and executives from race organizer Competitor Group Inc. hype the race.

Organizers say the Feb. 12 event, approved nearly two weeks ago by the City Council, could generate as much as $12 million for the area and fill 10,000 hotel rooms. About 12,000 to 15,000 runners are projected to participate.

"It's an incredible opportunity," Foster said. "It's a lot of heads and beds. We're very excited."

The St. Petersburg/Clearwater Sports Commission agreed to spend $100,000 for marketing while the city pledged $30,000 in services such as police, trash pickup and barricades.

In the past few years, the Rock 'n' Roll Marathon series has cultivated a reputation as one of the hottest marathon events. Held in several cities around the country, races feature a live band every mile along the course and a festival at the finish line.

"It's a 13.1-mile block party," said spokesman Dan Cruz.

Company officials made sure to infuse the news conference with that rock 'n' roll feeling.

Local three-man rock band Gates of Eden played a mix of original music and covers as officials milled about. The company flew in Olympic marathon gold medalist Frank Shorter, one of the founders of the event.

"I can tell you, you're going to have no buyer's remorse here," the 63-year-old told the crowd.

Some local race organizers still have their doubts.

Chris Lauber, who organizes several half-marathons in Pinellas County, said he has a race scheduled in Clearwater three weeks before the Rock 'n' Roll race. He fears the larger event will overshadow his.

"It's like Walmart coming to town," he said. "It's a little bit disturbing to say the least."

Dawna Stone, who runs St. Petersburg's Women's Half Marathon in November, said she feels slighted that an out-of-town company received monetary assistance at a time when local organizers have been turned down.

She said the race will be good for the city but doesn't want it moved any closer to her event.

"I really feel like the local market can bear another half marathon," said Susan Harmeling, an organizer with the annual Publix Super Markets Gasparilla Distance Classic Race Weekend, scheduled for March 3 and 4. "I'm comfortable with it. I wish it could be further away from Gasparilla, but it won't be, so we all have to deal with it."

Still, Harmeling said, sponsorship revenue is not infinite and is hard to generate.

"Somebody comes riding into town on their white horse claiming to bring in $12 million in economic dollars, but that money is coming from somewhere else locally," she said.

Officials say the chance to get national exposure through the race is a worthy investment.

"The goal is for everybody to benefit," Competitor Group president Scott Dickey said.

"All this event does is invigorate the local market," he said.

Runners can begin registering for the Rock 'n' Roll race Monday at competitor.com.

Times staff writer Michael Van Sickler contributed to this report. Kameel Stanley can be reached at kstanley@sptimes.com or (727) 893-8643.

City officials celebrate economic impact of Rock 'n' Roll St. Pete Half Marathon 05/17/11 [Last modified: Tuesday, May 17, 2011 10:39pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. After fraught debate, Trump to disclose new Afghanistan plan

    War

    WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump will unveil his updated Afghanistan policy Monday night in a rare, prime-time address to a nation that broadly shares his pessimism about American involvement in the 16-year conflict. Although he may send a few thousand more troops, there are no signs of a major shift in …

    U.S. soldiers patrol the perimeter of a weapons cache near the U.S. military base in Bagram, Afghanistan in 2003. Sixteen years of U.S. warfare in Afghanistan have left the insurgents as strong as ever and the nation's future precarious. Facing a quagmire, President Donald Trump on Monday will outline his strategy for a country that has historically snared great powers and defied easy solutions.  [Associated Press (2003)]
  2. Trial begins for man accused of threatening to kill Tampa federal judge

    Criminal

    TAMPA — Jason Jerome Springer was in jail awaiting trial on a firearms charge when he heard inmates talking about a case that had made the news.

    Jason Jerome Springer, 39, is accused of threatening to kill a U.S. District Judge Elizabeth Kovachevich, according to a federal indictment.  |Hernando County Sheriff's Office photo]
  3. Editorial: Tampa Electric customers should not pay for utility's fatal misjudgments

    Editorials

    There will be financial fallout from the terrible miscalculations that resulted in five workers being killed in June at Tampa Electric's Big Bend Power Station. State and federal regulators should ensure those costs are borne by the company's shareholders, not its customers. Monetary considerations will not begin to …

    LUIS SANTANA   |   Times
There will be financial fallout from the terrible miscalculations that resulted in five workers being killed in June at Tampa Electric's Big Bend Power Station. State and federal regulators should ensure those costs are borne by the company's shareholders, not its customers.
  4. Superior Uniform acquires Los Angeles-based PublicIdentity

    Corporate

    SEMINOLE — A subsidiary of Seminole-based Superior Uniform Group has acquired Los Angeles-based branded merchandise company PublicIdentity Inc.

    Superior Uniform Group CEO Michael Benstock
[Courtesy of Superior Uniform Group]
  5. Money is the issue as Hillsborough strains to fix school air conditioners

    K12

    TAMPA — With more than 200 repair requests tumbling in every day, school officials in Hillsborough County are broadening their circle of air conditioning mechanics as they struggle to control a debilitating cycle of breakdowns and sweltering classrooms.

    Hillsborough school officials want to expand the number of contractors who work on broken school air conditioning systems. But it all gets rolled into a workload that has increased by 40 percent since 2011. "With no increase in budget, no increase in equipment and no increase in manpower, and as the equipment gets older and needs more maintenance, this is going to continue to grow," said Robert Weggman, general manager of maintenance." [iStockphoto.com
]