MADEIRA BEACH – The 13th annual Florida Holiday Halfathon will be Sunday, Dec. 14.
The scenic 13.1-mile course begins in Madeira Beach and ends at Taylor Park in Largo. The course runs through the beach communities and residential neighborhoods, as well as along the Pinellas Trail.
The race is put on by Florida Road Races, a family-owned and operated business led by husband-and-wife team Chris and Rya Lauber.
The course has been measured and certified by the USA Track and Field.
A total of 963 finished last year’s event, race officials expect at least 50 percent more. Many athletes dress in holiday garb to play up the spirit of the season.
Plans include a post-race pasta party with food, beverages and live music provided by local supporters.
The Holiday Halfathon is one of the oldest half marathons in Florida, a distance that is quickly becoming more and more popular.
According to the Running USA State of the Sports Report, half-marathons have become the fastest growing standard distance, with the number of half-marathon finishers increasing by 307 percent since 2000. In 2014, there were nearly 2 million finishers in half marathons across the U.S., and there were more than 2,100 active half marathons. Since 2010, the half-marathon has become the second most popular distance by finishers, coming in second to the 5K.