Come enjoy central Florida’s only marathon on the Gulf coast that offers the perfect combination of a scenic course, ideal weather, and award-winning beaches for your recovery.
You will love our visually varied, mostly flat, scenic and certified course.
Afterwards, you’ll be able to relax and recover on award-winning Clearwater Beach, featuring our area’s famous white sand and the mild waters of the Gulf of Mexico.
If you’re seeking a mid-winter break and considering an escape to the south, Clearwater is a great choice. C’mon down!
Our Marathon course starts at Coachman Park on Clearwater’s waterfront, heads through downtown to access the Clearwater Bridge, reaching the top at the 1-mile marker. It’s downhill from there along the perfectly manicured Clearwater Causeway to award-winning Clearwater Beach, heading south to the Sand Key Bridge, the top of which is at mile 4.
With a start shortly before sunrise, athletes enjoy the sunrise over Clearwater Bay, before descending onto barrier-island-flat Gulf Boulevard and into Sand Key Park to pick up some mileage, before returning to Gulf Boulevard for the next 9 miles, touring through exclusive residential and commercial gulf-front neighborhoods.
The course turns inland over Park Boulevard Bridge and takes an easterly route on rustic, tree-canopied Oakhurst Road to the Pinellas Trail, a paved, rails-to-trails linear park which spans the length of Pinellas County. Turning north, athletes enjoy the absence of motorized vehicles on the Trail before reaching Clearwater and a short trek on S. Ft. Harrison before turning west into the very exclusive Harbor Oaks neighborhood.
The course heads west on the Clearwater Bridge approach for a short jaunt, exiting off to the double-helix ramp onto the bay level and the finish line just ahead back at Coachman Park. CONGRATULATIONS – You are a marathoner!
Click here for a “Mile by Mile” overview of the course.
The finish line will be open for 6 1/2 hours from the 7:05 a.m. start, and the course will open to traffic based upon that pace. For instance, athletes should be at the midpoint by 10:20 a.m. Athletes slower than that will need to move to the sidewalks and adhere to all pedestrian laws.
- We offer Gatorade and water at 18 aid stations starting at mile 2.8.
- Fresh Florida Oranges are available starting at the mile 6 aid station
- Medical support is available from ambulances stationed along the course and at the finish line. If you need medical assistance, the ambulances will be mobile and able to respond.
Certification / Boston Qualifier / Timing
The course is accurately measured, USATF certified #FL13013EBM, and therefore a Boston Qualifier. We use computerized chip timing, but official results will be based on “Gun Time” as per USATF rules.
Average Low – 50°
Average High – 71°
Average Monthly rainfall – 1.99 ”
Sunrise: 7:22 a.m.
Gold running starfish medals for all Marathon finishers
Age Group Awards – 3 deep in standard 5 year age groups
Overall Male / Female Awards – 3 deep
Masters (40+) Male / Female Awards – 3 deep
Grandmasters (50+) Male / Female Awards – 3 deep
The Florida Gulf Beaches Marathon was created to:
- Promote a healthy, active lifestyle
- Showcase our coastal communities
- Attract visitors to our area, generating a positive economic impact
- Encourage cooperation between numerous agencies in multiple cities
- Raise awareness and funds for non-profit organizations
Our first marathon was staged on January 23, 2000 and attracted 635 entrants from 30 states and 4 countries. It was very well received, and in our second year, participation grew to 1,529 athletes from 44 states and 14 countries, an increase of 140%!
Race Director Chris Lauber anticipated 3rd-year growth to reach 2,000 entrants and on a year-to-date basis, on September 10, 2001, entries were up 150%. Unfortunately, the tragic events of 9/11 helped to stall that growth, with a modest increase to just 1,593 athletes from 46 states and 15 countries.
After six years of successfully staging the Florida Gulf Beaches Marathon, a road construction project at the most narrow part of Gulf Boulevard in Indian Shores resulted in permits being denied. Our marathon had been on hold for seven years until last year when we relaunched it with nearly 300 finishers.
We expect to increase participation this year to 500 entrants and look forward to building the Clearwater Marathon in the years ahead.
What a day….great job. I don’t know how else to say it. The Brooksville Racewalker checked out of life for 2 days to take in your great event. Wife and I decided at last minute to get a motel room and see some sights at Clearwater Beach…enjoyed every minute…next year we’re going to come over and make 2 days of it before marathon day. Yes…it was windy to the max…yes it was a tad cool….turn down the fan a bit and it was perfection. Your crew was fabulous…you should be quite proud. I even got a chance to get some chow at the end…and it was wonderful. OHHH….big thanks for the plentiful gels and fluids this year…even enough for us 5hr+ folk. Again….Fabulous event….not quite sure yet why I do it…but I’ll be at the line next year. I started DEAD last…only thing behind me was flashing lights.
– Larry Van Fossen, Brooksville FL, Racewalker…5:04:04
Thanks again for a well-run race! For me it is local, but it is worth traveling to. Florida is very pretty this time of year. The weather is unpredictable, but you will never run in snow 🙂 and you will rarely run in rain. There are lots of inexpensive local hotels and plenty to do in this area. The race staff is well-organized, the volunteers (and lots of them) are all very friendly and helpful. The race is relatively small so the pack breaks up within a mile and you can usually get a good time. The race has usually been well-supported. Today we had a lot of wind which made it a challenge, but that’s why we do this, right?
– Tom Wells, St. Petersburg, FL
Thank you for a marathon well done. I appreciated all the small touches.
– Raynard Packer, Akron OH
I thought the volunteers did a great job this year. The police did an excellent job at stopping traffic for the runners. Thank you all for your hard work in putting this race together.
– Louise Shefler, Tampa, FL
Thanks for organizing the race and especially for making each mile clearly marked. I have been a race director for a 8K in Illinois for 24 years so I have some idea how much work it is. To organize a marathon must be very difficult.Thanks again.
– Jeff Leavey, Trinity, FL
Awesome Race! I thought you all staged an awesome race. From the Star Spangled Banner on, Good Job. Traffic control was great, the water/gatorade/orange stops were always ready to go, everything was first class and professional. I would like to thank all of your volunteers and all of the police officers, sheriffs and other public safety folks that lined the route and pointed the way everytime, can’t tell you how much that helped me out. I don’t know if you know it, but as I was running along that running/bike trail, I was thinking what a well thought out and beautiful public facility, I wish my home town had the forethought to build something like that for folks that don’t want to drive. All in all, total pro event, I had pleasant thoughts the whole way, Thanks.
– Fritz C. Gottschalk #39, Fayetteville, NC
Thank You to all of the race officials, volunteers, police officers, and everyone behind the scenes who came out on such a cold day to help the race go smoothly. All of your efforts are truly appreciated. Had a great time at the race, really enjoyed the course, and I plan to pass the word about the marathon. Thanks to all once again.
– John West, Tampa, FL
You Did an Awesome job on the race! I think Next Year I will finally end my Marathon Streak There. After 160 or so Marathons, Your Marathon will probably be my last of a long & wonderful run.You Must know this – The reason I am moving down here, It all started with your notion of putting the race on in the first place back in 2000. That was the reason I came to this part of Florida! You have significantly Changed my life for the Better! Many thanks to You.
– Stevy Grande, Sandown, NH … Serving the Running Community Since 1987
Many thanks! Thank you once again for allowing the Country Day Triathlon Team to participate as a relay team in the Gulf Beaches Marathon. It was quite a positive experience for all 19 of them as they committed to make it to the finish line! As parents, I think it is incredible to see our children take on these challenges. They are the future of the sports that we have tried to popularize to increase health and fitness in our lives. Thanks for contributing to our ongoing efforts. We look forward to the Halfathon and the Marathon again next year!
– Patti Spence, Country Day Triathlon Coach, Belleair, FL
Needless to say the weather played some tricks on us all but, other than that, I only heard good things about the race. As for our water stop, things went pretty smoothly. All the vols were great and pitched right in with enthusiasm. Continued success.
– Ginger McLain, Volunteer, Indian Shores, FL
Congratulations for directing an extremely successful race! From the perspective of the second runner on the relay team, I found the race to be “perfect” in every way. I can’t find anything to criticize. Keep up the excellent work!
– Alan Meyer, Bradenton Running Club, Bradenton, FL
Congratulations on another top notch marathon. I started out early with Norm Frank, and Wally Herman. We got underway around 4:30 am. Everything went well except for my slow pace. I reached the halfway mark just over 4 hours. By my watch it was 4:06:35. I decided to fold at the half and got the bus back to the start in time to see the marathon winner come through the finish line. I think both Norm and Wally finished ok. Sorry that I couldn’t make it all the way. Maybe next year! Again congratulations to you and your staff and the volunteers for doing such a great job in the cold and wind. You can never predict the weather. It really wasn’t bad during the first half with the wind giving us a boost along the way. I will be 86 next year. Maybe I should go for the half marathon! Best wishes.
– Ed Burnham, Kansas City, MO
I just wanted to drop you a quick note to say “thanks” for all your efforts in organizing the marathon and 10K race. Your website was loaded with more than enough information regarding everything from registering, to parking, to the race results. The links to Taylor Park and mapquest made getting directions quite easy. The fact that the course was clearly identified and each mile clearly marked was such a help for those of us who are visually oriented. The aid stations were packed full of water/Gatorade and everyone was so helpful and friendly. Even the police and staff who controlled the traffic were pleasant and accommodating. I actually had one police officer tell me to “feel free to litter” when she saw me running with a Gatorade cup! The only thing I would have changed, would have been the weather. I am sure lot’s of other folks would have said the same. The wind played a big part in slowing down the pace for me. That’s the breaks though – you never know what mother nature has in store. It certainly wasn’t anything you could control. All in all, my hat’s off to you and I give you a big “thumbs up.” Thanks for a job well done! Best Regards.
– Margi Becker, Clearwater, FL
Thanks for a great race. You put on a fine event and I was very pleased to run, particularly since you managed to make the weather so wonderful! I’d been training for a hot weather race (which I usually don’t like) and was delighted with the cold temps and “breezy” conditions. I PR’d on your course — something I NEVER thought would happen. Great race. I can’t believe I enjoyed it like I did. Thanks for putting on a super event! The crew was abundant and helpful and friendly and supportive. The oranges were manna from heaven — every race should have them as frequently as you do. Thanks for all your hard work and a superb day. You rock!
– Deborah McGee, Fredericksburg, VA
As always I liked the volunteers and the course route, all of it, especially the section through Taylor Park. Thank you.
– Greg Kaputa, Tampa, FL
AWESOME! Thanks for all the hard work that went into this windy windy race!! It was a blast regardless of the weather and I wanted to thank all the volunteers and officials for helping out! See you next year!
– Christine Minnix, Gainesville, FL
Thank you all for your efforts in putting together the 2005 Florida Gulf Beaches Marathon. Gulf Beaches was my 2nd marathon (I ran Detroit on October 24, 2004) and this was an excellent experience. The food and the band at the finish line was great and all of the volunteers did a nice job with the refreshments on the course. You made this a very special day for me and my family. My wife (Mary) ran the 10K and my two daughters (Elisa and Stephanie) volunteered to help at the finish line. Keep up the good work, it is very much appreciated. You are the ones that deserve the Gold Star!
– Mark Baker, Bib #19, Jackson, Michigan
Thank you for a well produced marathon! Though the strong winds were blustery, it made me think that I was back here in OKC!! 🙂 You all did a great job. It also helps that I got a PR! All the water stops were organized, well manned, and had plenty of fluids. It was also nice that the Carb-Boom and fruit hand outs were before the water stops. However, I was not one of the “back-of-the-pack” runners. Cool shirt. The medal is awesome! Several runners in my running group are jealous… 🙂 Thanks again! I had a great time and it was a great race.
– Bill Goodier OKC, OK
Great job with the race! I just wanted to drop you a note to let you know that I think you did a great job with the race. I can’t imagine how much work goes into pulling off an event like this, but for a small race, it was very well done. The expo was good, and my race partner and I stayed at the Belleview Biltmore, and that made everything even more special because it was such a neat hotel for the event. I would never complain to you about the weather because it is something you have no control over, so I think anyone who bailed because of that is a wimp. We came from Atlanta to run your race, so we were hoping for a relatively cool sunny day and we got it (of course the wind was unexpected, but made for a better race story)! We found the course to be scenic, very well guarded by all the police and workers, and the aid stations were frequent. You had plenty of aid stations with workers that were pleasant and encouraging, and the numerous number of stations the second half of the course were a welcome site. I am sorry we did not get to enjoy the Michelob Ultra celebration at the end of the race, but we were quickly chilled by the wind, but it looked like fun. The medal was great looking. I wish you luck on your next event, and hope this race continues to grow.
– Kathy LaPaglia, Alpharetta, GA
I have run many races (all distances) and many marathons (28-29). I know that putting on a race is not easy; putting on a marathon is a tremendous undertaking. The traffic control was excellent; I just can’t praise the volunteers enough–they are wonderful–we runners couldn’t do it without them.There was lots of water, gatorade, etc. on the course; and great food afterwards (and my husband enjoyed the beer). So thank you for everything. Enjoyed running your race. Again, congratulations on doing an excellent job.
– Cathy Detman, Flint, MI
We enjoyed our first marathon. You did a wonderful job in organizing and preparing. There were plenty of fluids, advil, gel and orange slices available. Each mile was also well marked, and the police did an outstanding job of controlling traffic. If only the wind had cooperated it would have been a perfect race! The post race events were also enjoyable. We plan to come back and do it again!
– Don and Cheri Laney, Lacey’s Spring, AL
I thought the race was well organized, pick-up packet was full of “goodies”, and the after race food and drink was outstanding! Also liked the added touch of the concert and race results were done quickly. Course was good and would have like to have run it without so much headwind but that is something all of us runners had to deal with. Congrats to the race directors and volunteers for putting on one of the best marathons I have run! Best regards.
– Randy Mellott, Raleigh, NC
Thanks for a wonderfully organized marathon- The music and all the food at the end, especially the rice and beans were very much appreciated. See you next year!
– Maureen Uhler, Pittsburgh, PA
I was amazed by the fantastic traffic control. It was so much safer than I expected when I previewed the course by bicycle on Friday–I didn’t think it was possible to control that many intersections. Congratulations on getting one lane of Gulfview Blvd closed. That really makes the race, especially for me since my short left leg strongly prefers the right side of the road. The last half also had fantastic aide stations.
– Donna Smyers who is back in Montpelier, Vermont where it is snowing and 0 F.
The race is getting better and better! It’s been a bit hectic back here but even though I told you earlier I just wanted to congratulate you again for organizing such a great event! Every year it just keeps on getting better. This year the most noticeable change for me, was the number of police on the route for traffic control. I don’t think you’ve had as many in the past. The water stations were well manned (womanned) and very organized. The volunteers were very enthusiastic and motivating. They are so much a part of the success of the race. You’ve got a great group working with you. Pass on my thanks to them. Great food and band at the finish line area. And when all was said and done, the wind wasn’t so bad – chilly yes, but it didn’t make a whole lot of difference during the run. (I was going to try to stay until after the awards but I did start to get cold so had to leave to get to warm clothes back at the hotel and a hot shower).
– Sue Faludi, 6-year Veteran from Ontario, Canada
I enjoy doing your marathon every year. This year, there was a great deal of enthusiasm at the water stops among the volunteers. They are to be commended. Thanks for a first class event.
– Jim Schoeneberg, St. Petersburg, FL
I would like to say that overall I did enjoy the Marathon. The course was scenic and fast, minus the 40-50 mph wind gusts going into the final half (LOL). It was my second best marathon finish time. I would recommend this course to people if they ask.
– Ryan L. Miller, Warren, MI
Didn’t know anything about your marathon prior to entering, but tell your tremendous volunteers all the way from along the trail to at the end – did a great job! As a cold weather runner, I appreciate the cool day and breeze and protection from wind when we turned on to Pinellas Trail. How DID YOU arrange for that? Best regards.
– Kim Robinson, Portage, MI
We stood huddled in a bunch on the memorial causeway on the edge of the Gulf of Mexico, we were absolutely freezing, the wind was ferocious, but when the “Star Spangled Banner” was sung, the atmosphere was so exciting. American flags and accents everywhere, imagine Oprah cheering “Goood on yooo” “Yooo are looking Awesome”, I felt like a hero! It was particularly exciting when spectators read my singlet and realized I was from Australia…”Go Ozzie” “Whoopie..all the way from Ozstrayleeah, good on yooo”. Sheriffs were at every single road intersection and drink stops were regular and very well organized, water on one side, gatorade on the other, Florida oranges, carbo gel, bandaids and even aspirin and pain relieving gel!! The day before we had received our race Tshirt, I kept reciting the phrase written on it. “I had the courage to start (particularly in such rotten conditions, one girl was almost crying at the start!!), I have the guts to do the distance (it was what I had trained for!!) and the heart to finish.” (I definitely have the heart I thought!) At times it fell so full of emotion. Everyone was just so friendly, the experience was so wonderful and I was really enjoying my run, all that training was panning out, it was such a good feeling after the nervous panic attacks I had been having for the last few weeks. I loved running in miles, there weren’t as many to run and the calculations kept my mind busy. At 40k(about 24 mile I figured)I knew I was almost there, but running into a very strong head wind was tough! It was like one step forward, two steps back! I was so close, now I just wanted to finish, why are finishes always so long and deceiving no matter which part of the world you are in?… Run 67 yelled out to me, 3.49 I was happy with that and felt proud to have my gold starfish medal hung around my neck. I absolutely loved my first overseas marathon experience.
– Karen Wiersma, Queensland, Australia
I live in Orlando, recently moved here from Austin Texas. This was my 11th marathon, most have been ran in Oklahoma and Texas, a couple out of the area (San Diego, etc). I really enjoyed the race. My time was terrible but I contribute that to lack of preparation on my part and a pretty fierce headwind the last 11 miles. I really enjoyed the course, a nice flat course is always welcome. The small detour in the park was pretty but tough, I would rather see any extra loops at the beginning of the race instead of the end. I really appreciated all the e-mails prior to the race, reminding us of dates, times, weather, etc. I will definitely give the race a thumbs up and recommend it to others. Hopefully next year the weather might cooperate and I will be better prepared and can set a PR. Thanks.
– Michael Potter, Lake Mary, FL
I really enjoyed the race, but of course it would have been a lot easier without the wind! I think you did a fantastic job. I have run 68 marathons and none have been the same. Also since I usually take 5+ plus hours to finish, Mother Nature can put on a complete cycle of weather patterns. Anyway, GREAT job and I will try to get back again. Good luck with your future marathons.
– Cheryl Murdock, Pensacola, FL
Just wanted to drop you a note about the 2005 race and let you know how much I appreciate the time and efforts of you and your volunteers in making this race a reality. I really appreciate the excellent traffic support. The officers do a very good job of monitoring the intersections and making sure that any cars do not get in the runners’ way. The volunteers deserve lots of praise. They did a great job of making fluids available and letting me know in advance where the Gatorade and water could be found. Overall, I enjoyed the race, and hope to be back in 2006. Thanks for all of your work in putting on a fun race!
– John Hnat, Strongsville, OH
Just wanted to let you know that all went well at the Park Blvd. turn around point. Good co-operation from everyone, especially Officer Jon Wiseman of the Indian Shores PD. The runners were very positive and seemed to be enjoying the challenge, despite the wind. Good Job!!!
– Jim McAvaddy, Volunteer, Redington Shores, FL
“Just because something is difficult, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try… It means that you should just try harder!”
We’re located in the beautiful Tampa Bay area, staging races in Clearwater, Fort DeSoto Park, and Madeira Beach to Largo.
– Cathy Detman, Flint, MI