Thursday, May 29, 2014
Starting this fall, Summerville will have its own half marathon.
Local marathon enthusiast Kelly Hazel has recruited a group of volunteers who are organizing the inaugural Summerville Sweet Tea Half Marathon. The 13.1-mile race is scheduled for 7 a.m. Nov. 15 and will benefit the Summerville Fire and Police benevolent fund.
Hazel, the cross country coach for Pinewood Prep, and her husband travel extensively to participate in marathons. She wanted to create an event that incorporates aspects of other events while also being unique; that led to the birth of the Summerville Sweet Tea Half Marathon.
“We thought if we run the race through town, our town is pretty so that will sell it,” Hazel said. “For me there are marathons I would never go back to because of the course but if I like the course then I would consider returning or recommending it to others. I wanted to create a race that gives people that feeling I sometimes get when I travel, the feeling that during a race you get to experience the entire town.”
The event will also feature live entertainment throughout the course and lively water stations.
“At the Disney Marathon every time you turn around someone is entertaining you so we thought we would have about eight different groups providing entertainment,” Hazel said. “Then when the runners are done they can vote on which entertainment they remember the most.”
The race will start at The Icehouse downtown and finish at Hutchinson Square. The course will incorporate parts of the Saw Mill Branch trail and subdivisions such as Tea Farm, Newington and Arbor Oaks.
Organizers are hoping to attract 300 to 400 runners for the inaugural event. Police will be available to handle traffic and safety concerns.
While drivers may have to wait for groups of runners to cross certain intersections, Hazel says no roads will be closed for the event and the race shouldn’t last more than three hours.
Age group awards will be medals shaped like a tea glass. Cash prizes will be awarded to the top overall runners.
“We have cool medals and participants will receive T-shirts that hopefully everyone will love,” Hazel said.
Organizers are seeking volunteers to man the water stations and direct runners throughout the course as well as race sponsors. Sponsorships are available with costs ranging from $50 to $500 and various perks tied in to different levels.
Sponsorship information and race registration is available at www.sweetteahalf.com. Registration cost is $65 per runner prior to Sept. 1 and $75 after.
An expo and packet pickup will be held the evening before the race.
“The expo is for marathon-related merchandise only,” Hazel said. “We are looking for groups that want to offer things such as water bottles or running gadgets. Down the road we might include race apparel at the expo.”
Organizers are encouraging local businesses to offer services or specials for runners and will likely add an accommodations page to the website.
Beginning June 11, “all-comers” training runs will be held every Wednesday at 6:30 p.m.
“At least for the first few, we will meet at Hutchinson Square,” Hazel said. “We plan to have groups for all ranges of ability. If someone wants to build up to the 13 miles they can just run with us however long they are comfortable with and then turn around.”
For further information, visit www.sweetteahalf.com or contact Hazel at 822-2461.