Solana Beach makes recommendations on biggest race event to hit North County

By Claire Harlin

The biggest North County coastal running event of all time is well on its way to fruition and has permits in place from Del Mar. However, there are still some kinks to iron out in Solana Beach, officials noted at a Jan. 9 Solana Beach City Council meeting.

Set to take place on Feb. 16, 2014 from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m., the California 10/20 running race was a success in Austin, Texas, last April, attracting about 8,000 participants. Organizer Peter Douglass, founder and president of Turnkey Operations, is eager to make Del Mar, Solana Beach and Encinitas the backdrop for a race in which he expects 10,000 to 12,000 to participate — and that’s not including the thousands of race volunteers and spectators expected to be there.

The 10-mile race will feature 20 live bands along the course, which starts at the Del Mar Fairgrounds, travels along Jimmy Durante Boulevard to Highway 101, heads north to the Cardiff Kook and returns to the fair along the same path. Starting at 7 a.m., runners will head north along the west side of the 101 and south along the northbound side, with traffic reopening on the southbound side by 10 a.m., said Douglass, a former North County resident who now lives in Austin.

“I don’t think we’ve had an event this big, with this many participants and volunteers and race-watchers, ever,” said Solana Beach City Councilman Tom Campbell.

City manager David Ott replied, “No, not all in one event.”

Campbell was the most vocal of council members to express concern about the event’s magnitude and proposed logistics. For instance, the race plan includes notification of residents within 500 feet of the race, however, Campbell said every resident of Solana Beach should be notified.

“If you don’t notify people east of the Interstate 5 and they try to drive down Lomas Santa Fe trying to get on the 101 in the morning, they will be unhappy people and we are going to hear about it,” Campbell said, adding that the race falls on President’s Day weekend and many might have weekend plans.

Another thing Campbell said should be revisited is the division of the proceeds from the event — $30,000 proposed to be split evenly between the three cities to benefit non-profit organizations.

“The residents of Solana Beach are going to be the most impacted for sure,” Campbell said. “Once the race gets up to the Cardiff Kook, nobody will be impacted, and it won’t affect Camino Del Mar or Villa De La Valle. This money should be allocated based on impact to the residential community.”

Council members also said they’d like to see city officials be the ones to choose those beneficiaries. The 2012 Austin race, set to take place again this April, listed seven official charities that raised close to a half a million dollars, according to race documents.

Mayor Mike Nichols brought up the issue of potential damage to the city’s landscaping in public areas, and Ott said barrier fencing would be in place and insurance to city property required.

Douglass said he has been meeting with officials and businesses from the three cities over the past eight months and nobody so far has been opposed. He also said a traffic control plan for all impacted neighborhoods is “almost ready to go.”

Additionally, he said TurnKey is investing extensively in national advertising, such as ads in Runners World magazine. He also added that the event would bring many visitors to the city. More than 30 percent of participants of the Austin race, he said, were from out of town.

“We’re doing a lot of advertising,” said Douglass “Everywhere we promote our race and say good things about our race, we’re also doing the same thing for all three cities.”