Solana Beach holds off on proposed 10-mile benefit run

By Claire Harlin

The Solana Beach City Council on Aug. 22 unanimously agreed to hold off on approving permits for a 10-mile, 10,000-participant run with 20 music stages to go through the city in February. Council members like the concept, which would raise money for both the city and the recently purchased Gateway Property on the San Elijo Lagoon, but they want to revisit the idea next year.

The California 10/20 Mile Race would be the largest of its kind in Solana Beach, and thus city officials are concerned that the projected date for the event — Feb. 17, 2013 — will conflict with ongoing construction on Highway 101.

“If there’s one more thing after all our residents have gone through, it’s us who’s going to be taking the heat, not you,” said Council member Lesa Heebner, expressing concern that the city has already been greatly inconveniencing locals and businesses due to the large-scale construction.

Austin-based race production company TurnKey Operations has thus far invested at least $20,000 into the event proposal, and that includes travel, consulting and a deposit to the fairgrounds. They aren’t thrilled about the decision, but they aren’t giving up.

“There’s no guarantee we will even get a permit for 2014, but we still want to have a race in North County,” said TurnKey founder and president Peter Douglass. “The question is whether we will keep pressing for 2013 or take it easy and work for 2014 … We’re not going to take our ball and go home.”

Douglass, who also helped create San Diego’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon, said he is looking at other cities to hold the 10/20 race as well, but that doesn’t affect the company’s interest in North County.

The race would start at the Del Mar Fairgrounds. Runners would travel west on Via de la Valle, then north on Highway 101 to the kook statue in Cardiff, and then turn around and run back to the fairgrounds. The race would culminate with a large concert at the fairgrounds, and six of the 20 music stages would be located in various parts of Solana Beach.

A Sheriff’s official told the council that the event would be “definitely the biggest we’ve ever done,” adding that the department may have to tow cars since there would be no parking on Highway 101.

Talks with law enforcement officials in Austin, where a similar race by the same organizers was successfully held earlier this year, revealed that about 100 officers were needed to be present for that event.

“We’ve had preliminary talks … We think we can do it,” he said.

City Manager David Ott said at the time of the proposed race, the revitalization project will be in the sidewalk construction phase on the west side, forcing “stragglers” to run through the Coastal Rail Trail after traffic resumes on main thoroughfares.

“The Coastal Rail Trail is not built for 10,000 people running on it,” Mayor Joe Kellejian said.

Organizer Rick Kozlowski, who has produced a number of San Diego runs, triathlons and bike rides through his company Koz Events (including an annual triathlon in Solana Beach), said every event does have some stragglers and they will be running 10 to 15 feet apart.

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