More than five thousand elementary school students along with parents, teachers and families have signed up to participate in the April 23, By the Bay 3K fun run in Pacific Grove, California. This largest-ever Big Sur Marathon event distance ranks as the third largest kidâ€™s race in the nation. It has also now become the largest of all seven Big Sur race weekend events.
The annual Big Sur International Marathon is capped at 4,500 entrants in accordance with highway and county permits. The additional distances of 21, 10.6, and 9 miles, plus a 5K and 4-person relay all have individual caps ranging from 750 to 1,600. Collectively the Sunday events hold just under 10,000 for the six distances and all except the 5K are sold out. In 2008 the kid-focused 3K moved from marathon Sunday to a different venue on Saturday and has been steadily growing. This yearâ€™s 5,146 surpasses last yearâ€™s total by 20 percent.
â€śThe growth of the By the Bay 3K reflects a growing interest in youth fitness in our community,â€ť said Doug Thurston, Big Sur Marathon Race Director. â€śItâ€™s fun to help more kids and parents experience the excitement of race weekend.â€ť
Since the 1990â€™s, the marathon has held a â€śSchools Competitionâ€ť which provides cash awards based on the schoolâ€™s level of participation. Forty-four elementary and middle schools from throughout Monterey County will be represented at this yearâ€™s By the Bay 3K. As part of its non-profit mission to give back to the local community, the Big Sur Marathon contributes up to $15,000 in awards. In addition, the marathon provides bus grants to schools coming from longer distances throughout the Salinas Valley. For many children, this event along the scenic Monterey Bay coastline provides their first-ever glimpse of the ocean.
Staging and activities for By the Bay 3K are held at Lovers Point Park in Pacific Grove. Beginning at 8 a.m., runners head west along Ocean View to Coral St. where they turn around for a finish back at Lovers Point. All participants receive a finishersâ€™ medallion, a marine-themed t-shirt, and post-race food and entertainment at the finish area. National childrenâ€™s entertainer T-Bone will perform a pre and post-race interactive show. At 9:15, representatives from the Big Sur Marathonâ€™s JUST RUN youth fitness team will present the cash awards to the schools, along with special plaques to those schools that are part of the year-long JUST RUN program.
Local residents and visitors are welcome to come out and cheer on the thousands of kids running or to sign up for the event and run or walk. Pre-registration is available online at www.bsim.org through April 20, at the Marathon Expo on Friday, April 22, or on race morning beginning at 6:30 a.m. Costs are $5 for children 4-17, and $20 for adults.
Street closures will be in effect beginning at 6 a.m. on Ocean View Blvd. between Fountain and Coral Streets. The race will conclude at approximately 9 a.m. and post-race festivities end in the park by 11 a.m.