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home > races/results > usa: florida > st. pete bay to bay – a cool race in a hot place!

St. Pete Bay to Bay – A cool race in a hot place!
Allow me to pique your interest in running this gem of a destination event this spring.

St. Pete Bay to Bay – A cool race in a hot place!

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By Christopher Russell
Posted Monday, 15 January, 2007

The short list of reasons to attend this year’s Bay to Bay includes:

  • A cool course (12k point to point across the St. Petersburg Peninsula finishing on a pier out in Tampa Bay)
  • Located in a vacation hot-spot – with perfect weather (St. Pete and Tampa Bay)
  • Top-shelf runner amenities with attention to detail.
  • An event steeped in tradition
  • …and a great party!

If you’ve got even a spark of life left in you after the long winter let yourself be enticed to spend March 18th in Sunny Florida running St. Pete’s Bay to Bay.

“You put on a top notch race...the refreshments on the course; afterwards, the volunteers, etc. were just super… you are putting on quality races which are accurate and well-run, the running community appreciates it! Thanks for all you do-I know you work very hard, but the results speak for themselves. Thanks again.”– Lynn Gray

Share in a local celebration of running!
There has been a bustling running community in the St. Pete area for years. Bay to Bay is part of the local running history. Every spring for 34 years locals have been racing across the peninsula from Boca Ciega Bay in the west to Tampa Bay in the east. Join the celebration this year and be part of a classic event.

“You guys and gals were GREAT! What a well run event. I'll be there next year. Absolutely no complaints, you guys know your stuff. Thanks.” - Chris Norton

Go ahead and flock to St. Petersburg Florida this spring with travelers from across the running nation to enjoy your moment in the sun at Bay to Bay.

History and class!
Bay to Bay is a classic. It is a classic because of the great destination venue, the detailed participant amenities, the perfect weather, the neat point to point course and the great history of the event.

Great venue:
Looking for something different? Something neat? Someplace warm? This is a classic course in a classic place. If you’re like me you’re always on the look out for interesting and compelling races. We look for the scenic places and interesting courses. The Bay to Bay qualifies with some awesome features that you will love.

Great course!
First, the course is a 12K. 12k is an interesting distance. This could be the perfect distance for you to step up your training. It’s a tad longer than a 10k, but not yet a half marathon. This could be a good distance for people setting intermediate goals or even looking for a longish tempo race in their spring marathon calendar. How many 12k’s do you run in a year? It’s statistically almost certain to be a PR!

“Thanks for a wonderful Sunday morning last week. The group that I ran with enjoyed ourselves so much that we turned around and ran back to our cars at the start…..Again – your efforts and approach to the events that you are involved with make them superior races. Thank you!” - Jim McConnell, St. Pete

The most prominent feature of the course is that it cuts straight across the peninsula from east to west on 1st and 2nd avenues. You can say you ran across Florida! It is a point to point that starts on the inter-coastal waterway on the west side of St. Pete (Boca Ciega Bay) and ends on the pier on the east side (Tampa Bay). Not ‘at the pier’, but actually out on the pier! This presents a unique, interesting and fun voyage for the participants. As you run you can count down the street numbers with the miles to track your progress. Don’t worry, there is a shuttle service back to the start(s) and a bag service for your stuff – everything is taken care of. – They don’t leave you stranded out in Tampa Bay.

This event would be a refreshing break for you ‘northern snow birds’ who might want to migrate down for the weekend. The course is topographically flat and straight. There are no hills across the peninsula! The weather in St. Pete in March is a guaranteed winner. The average temperatures are lows in the 60’s and highs in the 70’s. If you don’t believe me, check the almanac. Even better, it hardly ever rains in St. Pete this time of year. It is perfect weather for running. Not too hot – Not too cold. (Perfect weather for us pale New Englanders to take a break in too!)

Call the travel agent and mark your calendar!
The race event spans the weekend of March 18th. Starting on Friday night with the expo and pre-race activities and ending with a smokin’ post race bash on the pier in Tampa Bay (the finish line).

The race events are on Sunday. There is the 12k plus a 5k and a series of kids runs for the little ones (50 – 40 yards, depending on age). It is designed this way to make the event family friendly and allow greater participation. The 5k starts halfway across the peninsula on the same course.

“Bay to Bay was the only event I registered for with my son this year. It was a fantastic event and day for me to spend with my son. Thank you so much for keeping it a wonderful family event!” - Duane and Patrick Crandall

The 12k starts at 8:15 at Sunset Park, It goes east on 1st avenue, jumps a block north to 2nd and finishes on the pier. The 5k starts at 7:45 on the same course and follows the second half of the 12k route to the same finish line. The kid’s runs are at 9:45. The post race party starts at 9:00AM!

The health and fitness Expo is on Friday and Saturday at the new YMCA that is also the 5k starting point. You can pick up your race T’s and packets and check out the goodies.

Great vacation spot!
The other obvious advantage of this race is that it is in St. Pete. This is the heart of the Florida vacation zone. The area is known for all its tourist attractions, its incredible white sand beaches, the great blue Gulf of Mexico, and the aforementioned excellent weather.

Miles of white beaches, stately palms, and the Gulf of Mexico's turquoise waters beckon visitors to sit back and soak in the pleasures of sun and sea. But with approximately 361 days a year of sunshine and an average temperature of 73 degrees, outdoor activities are impossible to resist. Sailing, fishing, jet skiing, snorkeling and scuba diving aren't considered exotic here; they're part of everyday life. Back on land, championship golf courses and tennis courts are open year-round, and anglers will enjoy fishing from the state's longest fishing pier at the old Sunshine Skyway Bridge.

Florida's largest west coast metropolitan area with a population of over 3 million, Tampa Bay has long been known for its cultural diversity, balmy climate, unique attractions and brilliant white sand beaches. (Florida Beaches web site)

The folks in Tampa / St. Pete take their tourism seriously. Much of the U.S. travel industry is even headquartered there. If you go to St. Pete for Bay to Bay you will also be treated to renowned dining and nightlife. More good news; it won’t break your bank! The area is reasonable as vacation destinations go and you can find accommodations and activities to your liking in your price range. This is a great opportunity for you to use a race as an excuse to tie in a long weekend vacation with the family in a hot vacation spot. Run the race and come back with a tan!

“What a wonderful day! What a wonderful birthday! What a wonderful race! What wonderful directors! We loved the venue; the goodie bags; the colorful shirts; the post-race party and the ceramic medals topped it all off. (The beautiful ceramic platters to the elites was such a unique trophy for the winners.) We loved running the race.
Be proud of yourselves for a job well done.”
- Jackie and Larry Yost

The folks at the Bay to Bay are also going to take care of you! The directors of this event have specifically focused their efforts on making the participants happy. The overarching goal is to make this “a high quality event for the participants”. This is done by providing for all your needs and making sure you have a good time.

The on-course support is good with aid stations to keep the runners fueled and moving. There is plenty of support and traffic control to get you to the finish party safe and happy. There will be shuttles to get you back to your vehicle at the start. They will handle your gear bag for you too. Champion Chip Timing will be provided.

“Sunday’s Bay to Bay was great! Everything from the volunteers to the bus drivers and even the black beans and rice. I learned a lot about bone marrow donation thanks to "Emily" again, great job.” – Jeannie Fowler

The 2-day Health and Fitness Expo on Friday and Saturday at the brand new YMCA is surprisingly sizeable and well attended by both exhibitors and participants. Since many of the vendors are based in the area there is a good turnout. The expo will feature massage and chiropractic specialist as well as many sports related vendors showing their wares.

Lots of prizes!
The event does a good job spreading around the awards, prizes and gifts. Winners receive custom designed trophies. The age groups are staggered in 5 year increments and generously 5 deep in each age group. This must at least double your chance of placing and winning, right? There is also a big raffle with a cornucopia of prizes, including, (because of the local travel industry presence), travel related prizes.

Party on the Pier!
The one signature amenity of the event is a great post race party. This will be held on The Pier at the finish line. The Pier is a neat place to experience. It is a three story complex that stands like an island in Tampa Bay. It’s really something to see with its shopping and restaurants. Like a big cruise ship jutting out into the bay.

“Great race! You all did a great job this year. I had a lot of fun at the post race especially. :)” – Kelly Olson, St. Petersburg

The Pier hosts two locally famous restaurants. The first is The Columbia which is a 100 year old feature in St. Pete. The Second is the more casual Cha Cha Coconuts. The post race brunch and party will be held at Cha Cha Coconuts. This signature restaurant occupies the 3rd level of the pier cum island and boasts a 360 degree wrap around deck for your al fresco pleasure cavorting in the sun. There will be plenty of good food and drink with a live band for entertainment. Free to all runners – past participants report that this is a party not to be missed!

Support Youth Running
If you’re not entirely selfish and need to feel good about your entry fees, you’ll be glad to know that Bay to Bay supports local youth sports. Part of the proceeds go to benefit Tampa Bay youth running through PAL – the Police Athletic League. You can have your party and help the next generation of runners get started too.

The Bay to Bay has a long history. The genesis of the race was originally in 1973. The Tampa – St. Pete area has always had a healthy running scene and the Bay to Bay was an outgrowth of that vitality for 24 years. Even with the vibrant local running community, the original sponsoring club ran out of gas and disbanded in 1997 leaving no one to keep the Bay to Bay tradition alive. Locals continued to pay homage each year by running the course unofficially. In 2004 a new race director took up the standard and charged forth with a reinvigorated event that has been thriving and growing since.

The race was moved from Memorial Day to March to get better weather and avoid the heat. This new date worked well with other local favorite events. Bay to Bay follows on the heels of the Gasparilla 15k and St. Pete Beach 10k. It makes for a nice calendar of events for the area runners.

Last year’s event drew over 1,000 participants with 650 in the 12k and over 400 in the 5k. 25% of the runners were from out of state, another 25% were from outside the Tampa-St. Pete metro area and the remaining 50% were local participants. The organizers hope to get even more this year and welcome visitors.

This race isn’t all fun and games. Local elites show up and vie for area bragging rights. Last year the 12k winner ran a 5:29 pace per mile and the 5k winner averaged a 5:23 pace. See the Results from last year posted on CoolRunning.

“2006 Bay to Bay was another fantastic event. Your races are perfectly run.” - Doug Chronister, St. Pete Beach

Come on down to beautiful St. Pete this spring for Bay to Bay!
If you are looking for a cool race in a hot location come down to St. Pete in March and run Bay to Bay. Bring the family and take advantage of one of the premier vacation spots in the US. Treat yourself. Make this part of your spring tradition. Come join the party, join the celebration and share in the history of this classic race in a classic place!



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