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Inaugural Safety Harbor race will close streets to traffic on Saturday

SAFETY HARBOR — Driver advisory: Roads around the Safety Harbor Marina will close Saturday morning for a new road race that has already attracted almost 3,000 advance registrants.

Bayshore Boulevard from E Marshall Street in Safety Harbor to Drew Street in Clearwater will shut down from 6 to 11 a.m. Saturday for the 5-, 10- and 21-kilometer races.

The Ream Wilson Trail in Clearwater, which is part of the race route, will close to bikers and walkers Saturday.

And the Safety Harbor Marina, where the races will start and end, will close to traffic at 8 p.m. today and remain closed until 3 p.m. Saturday.

The event is called the "Best Damn Race," and while the name has attracted attention, other lures have been the great views along the bayfront and Ream Wilson Trail and the chance to participate in a race organized specifically for dedicated runners.

"It's a race designed by runners, for runners," said Nick Zivolich, 34, who owns a local marketing firm and has completed the Chicago Marathon and Miami Half-Ironman — and about 50 other races. "Right along the water. And it's going to be 'personal record' weather."

The primary race route is along Bayshore Boulevard, which borders Old Tampa Bay, and the shady Ream Wilson Trail from Safety Harbor to Clearwater. However, some side streets will be affected, including San Pedro Street, Seventh Street and 10th Street.

While online registration has closed, runners can still register today between noon and 7 p.m. at the Safety Harbor Marina, 110 Veterans Memorial Lane, or on Saturday morning beginning at 5:30 a.m.

The 10K race will start at 6:30 a.m. Saturday, the half-marathon at 7:15 a.m. and the 5K at 9:30 a.m. Cost of registration ranges from $35 for the 5K to $80 for the half-marathon.

The race is also hosting a Heath & Fitness Expo today and Saturday, with exhibitors and vendors offering health-related or sports items and free samples.

Any proceeds from the race will go to Miles for Hope, a Clearwater-based charity that raises funds for brain tumor research and provides financial assistance to brain tumor patients.

Organizers of the Best Damn Race hope to make it an annual event.

Danielle Paquette can be reached at dpaquette@tampabay.com or (727) 445-4224.

For more information about the race and the Health and Fitness Expo, go to bestdamnrace.com.

Inaugural Safety Harbor race will close streets to traffic on Saturday 01/31/13 [Last modified: Thursday, January 31, 2013 7:47pm]

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