SOLANA BEACH — In an effort to garner support for a race that will shut down Coast Highway 101 on a Sunday morning in 2014, the promoter, as promised, held an informational meeting Oct. 25 to better explain the event and address potential concerns. But only a handful of people attended and none of their questions focused on what the organizers and city officials expected to be the major issues — parking, noise and inconvenience from the closure of a main thoroughfare along the coast.
In August, race producers Peter Douglass and Rick Kozlowski presented plans to Del Mar, Solana Beach and Encinitas for the California 10/20, a 10-mile run along Highway 101 that would start and end at the Del Mar Fairgrounds, beginning at 7:30 a.m. on Feb. 17, 2013.
The route will include 20 bands along the way to motivate runners.
Douglass, president of Turnkey Operations and co-creator of San Diego’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon, received approval from officials in Del Mar and Encinitas.
But council members in Solana Beach had concerns because the stretch of Highway 101 along which most of the race would be run is currently undergoing major renovations that aren’t expected to be complete until fall 2013.
In response, Douglass postponed the event for a year, saying it would give him more time to better market the race, now scheduled for Feb. 16, 2014, the Sunday during Presidents Day weekend.
During the first of what is expected to be at least a few more public outreach meetings, Douglass said although he wanted to have the race next year his goal was to show off each city at its best.
“We like to do everything first class in places that are interesting and when people want us to be there,” he said. “This is three really cool cities all in one package.”
Based on a similar race he held in Austin, Texas, Douglass said the event should have a positive economic impact on the three cities.
“We’re very serious about helping businesses,” he said. “We want to do this every year so we want it to be a win-win for everyone. We don’t want to be run out of town the first year.”
Douglass said he expects around 10,000 runners. About 10 percent will be from out of state and 20 percent to 30 percent will come from outside of San Diego. They will need hotel rooms and will shop and dine in area businesses starting as early as Friday, when expos and package pickups will be held at the fairgrounds.
He said runners often arrive early and like to check out the course before race day, meaning they will stop to shop and eat then as well as after the event. He said he didn’t expect a surge of business during the race, when the roadways will be closed, except for local residents who may come to watch.
Douglass said road closures will begin at 7 a.m. and the race will start 30 minutes later. He said the winner should finish in about 45 minutes and anyone taking longer than three hours will be guided off the course onto sidewalks. All roads will be open to traffic no later than 10:45 a.m., he said.
In response to questions at the informational session, Douglass said there will be no charge for spectators, although many are not expected to line the course path. He said onlookers will likely be there for the start and finish at the fairgrounds, where parking will be free the day of the event.
He is currently not planning any similar future events in the state, a decision hasn’t been made on team runners and he will partner with Amtrak to encourage train use by those coming from Los Angeles and Orange County.
He also reiterated that his company will donate $30,000 to local charities, although the specifics have not yet been determined.
Douglass was hesitant to estimate the amount of money the event could generate, but he said the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon, which attracts about three times as many runners as he expects for the California 10/20, brings in about $35 million.
He said he will use area vendors for necessary items such as signs and will be hiring locals to work the day of the event.
There is a traffic plan to guide motorists to the freeway along Sierra Avenue and Coast Boulevard during the times the 101 and Via de la Valle will be closed.
Eight stages are currently planned in Solana Beach but their placement hasn’t been determined. Each band will play for about 45 minutes, primarily to motivate the athletes, starting as the first runner approaches and stopping when the last one goes by.
“We can modify the amplification if necessary,” Douglass said, noting the music will likely be upbeat pop and rock ‘n’ roll.
The course will take runners just north of the Cardiff Kook statue in Encinitas, where they will turn around and return to the fairgrounds along the same route.
Josh Lujan, general manager of Courtyard by Marriott, said the event will be a boost for the city and local businesses during the offseason.
Richard Moore, who’s lived in Solana Beach since 1964, said he didn’t have any problems with the event, although others may.
“But they should be willing to sacrifice a little to help out the city,” Moore said.