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home > races/results > usa: florida > countdown to launch of the 37th annual space coast marathon and half marathon

Countdown to Launch of the 37th Annual Space Coast Marathon and Half Marathon
The Space Coast Marathon and Half Marathon are really unique races along one of the most scenic areas of the country. Florida’s oldest marathon invites you to an exciting race in a magnificent and historic place.

Countdown to Launch of the 37th Annual Space Coast Marathon and Half Marathon

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Active Running

By Skip Cleaver
Posted Wednesday, 8 October, 2008

Be a part of a really unique event in a beautiful vacation location—run the Space Coast Marathon or Half Marathon, and you will treasure the memories. The Space Coast Marathon and Half Marathon are tremendously well organized and offer a top flight –or space flight—racing experience for all. They are ideal for first time marathoners and experienced distance runners alike. All will find a welcoming race organization and community—the committee, energetic and supportive volunteers, and local residents. And you will find much more—a region that simply must be experienced and explored. There is nothing like it; the space theme alone makes this event unique—especially running near the Kennedy Space Center, the only location on earth where men were launched to land on the moon.

And it is a very convenient location—only a few miles off Interstate 95 and about 37 miles from the Orlando International Airport and even less from the Melbourne International Airport. Yes, the region is a big draw in itself, and now there is a top notch marathon and half marathon to make this an absolute must for runners of all abilities.

The countdown to your race begins now. Plan your vacation and travel to the beautiful Space Coast of Florida for a most memorable marathon and accompanying half marathon. They run Sunday, November 30th at Cocoa Village, just north of Melbourne, and just east of Merritt Island and the Kennedy Space Center.

The Space Coast offers one of the most beautiful waterfront courses on the east coast, running along the Indian River and the Intracoastal Waterway, with water views, boats and aquatic birds, and gorgeous homes lining this very flat course.

With a space theme throughout, you will view the preparations for a space shuttle launch as you enter the corrals in preparation for the start. Then comes your countdown: 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, Blastoff! The start! The jumbotron will then show an actual shuttle launch as the amazing sound system blasts the awesome sound of the engines. You will feel and hear the roar of the huge space shuttle's power as you power off through the fog machines simulating smoke and steam from the launch. This is a unique start that must be experienced. Yes, you will enjoy this most unique event and fantastic organization.

Famous marathon legend Dick Beardsley will be the keynote speaker (see below). The 6:00 a.m. start allows plenty of time for further exploration of this fantastic region. After 37 years of experience you can bet that the race organizers and volunteers are ready for you, and you will find them very helpful and enthusiastic; they will treat you like the guest that you are.

Race Headquarters
Race Headquarters will be at Running Zone, Inc. located at 3680 N. Wickham Road in Melbourne, Florida. Running Zone is just south of the King Center and Brevard Community College between Post and Parkway Road. This is one of the best running stores in the Southeast, and a sponsor of the event.

Race packet pick-up and late registration will be available at the Running Zone beginning Monday, November 24th through Friday, November 28th (not open Thanksgiving Day) from 10:00 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., and again on Saturday, November 29th from 9:00 a.m. to noon.

For further information about Running Zone, visit us on the web at You can also contact Race Director Denise Piercy at Running Zone by phone at (321) 751-8890 or Contact Us.

Course and Space Theme
With supreme attention to detail and tremendous community and sponsorship support, the space theme will greet runners along the course. There is even a “Tang” aid station (remember Tang, the powdered orange flavored drink carried in the capsules by the astronauts in the Apollo Program). Participants are invited to run with space related outfits, and be a part of the overall fun.

The course heads north from the delightful and historic Cocoa Village, Cocoa Waterfront Park (430 Delannoy Avenue, Cocoa) along the beautiful Indian River. It heads north on Brevard Avenue to Indian river Drive and the turn around at about 6.5 miles. Half marathoners head south and finish at Waterfront Park near the pavilion, while marathoners continue south through Cocoa and onto Rocklege Drive to the southern turnaround point before heading north again to Waterfront Park and a triumphant finish.

There will be a different take on the space theme at each mile--aid stations located every mile. You have not experienced anything like this before—this is a Space Coast only experience.

Awards and Amenities
There will be $7,500 in prize money (see Race Website for distribution), plus a series of age group awards for both races. There are beautiful unique medals given all finishers—a different medal for each race. These are larger enameled medals sure to be treasured by finishers. There will be a space costume contest, with two different awards provided—one for each race.

There will be plenty of parking available, plus a shuttle bus provided from the Radisson Resort in Port Canaveral to and from Waterfront Park on race morning from 4:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Local residents may use the shuttle and visitors staying at any location may also take advantage of this service.

There will be water and Gatorade provided every mile beginning at mile two. Gels will be provided at mile 8 and every mile from 14 to the finish. There will also be first aid stations every mile.

You won’t want to miss the post race celebration in Waterfront Park. They have planned well for you. Post race food will be plentiful, and for example runners have a choice of pizza or a pancake breakfast new this year.

Race Theme and the Kennedy Space Center
The Space Coast is aptly named, and the presence of the massive and historic Kennedy Space Center is something of which all Americans can be very proud. And all should see. The complex is tremendous, and the visitor center and available tours provide insight and information about space flight—past, present, and future. I encourage you to take this in while there—spacecraft, artifacts, memorabilia, IMAX films, wonderful displays, tours of restricted areas, Astronaut Hall of Fame, and the new "Shuttle Launch Experience" ride adjacent to the visitors complex. You must see it to believe it. It is possible you will be able to observe an actual launch while visiting (launch schedules and information provided at the visitors center).

Massive as it is, the Kennedy Space Center is actually located within the 140,000 acre Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge extending some 34 miles along the coast.

The KSC today is best known as the launch site and usual landing site of the Space Shuttle, flying since the first launch of Columbia in 1981. It has two enormous launch pads for the purpose, one of the world’s longest runways, and the third largest building anywhere. Cape Canaveral, just east of the current space complex, was home to the launch of the historic Mercury and Gemini flights.

Dick Beardsley
Dick Beardsley will be the celebrity guest and keynote speaker for this year. He will deliver a terrific and very motivating speech and will be available to chat and sign autographs. (Joan Benoit Samuelson was so honored last year.) Beardsley is one of America’s great marathoners, and is the fifth fastest American all time. He is most famous for his “Dual in the Sun” with Alberto Salazar at Boston, finally finishing second by two seconds in the closest finish ever.

He was a two time winner at Grandmas Marathon and holds the course record. He also won London and Napa Valley, and was twice an Olympic Trials qualifier.

However, his most interesting story is one of near fatal accidents, medical and physical hardship, addiction, and recovery.

He was badly mangled in a near-fatal accident with farm equipment. Then he was run over by a truck several years later when finally able to return to running. And he also was involved in two additional serious auto accidents. His story of overcoming these seemingly devastating and debilitating accidents—and overcoming the addiction to pain killers that followed—is both heartwarming and inspiring.
Beardsley has a very comfortable speaking style that audiences always enjoy—a manner very much at ease. You will value his talk and are sure to come away with additional motivation for your marathon.

Space Coast Region
This is the ideal region for the active individual and family. There are miles and miles of pristine beaches, unbelievable ocean and river fishing, wind surfing kayaking, surfing, boat rentals, fishing charters, cruises, biking, and hiking trails. The Merritt Island Causeway (near the start/finish, takes you to Merritt Island and the continuing Cocoa Beach Causeway to some of Americas most beautiful beaches. The Indian River and Banana River, Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, Astronauts Memorial Space Mirror, Astronaut Hall of Fame, American Police Hall of Fame and Museum, Launch Complex 39, National Historic Site, launch schedule, Canaveral National Seashore, Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge, Cocoa Beach 1,000 Island Tour, pier, Brevard Museum of History and Science (and nature preserve) are only some of the opportunities that await on your visit to this gem of the east.

Let’s Go!
The Space Coast Marathon and Half Marathon provide runners of all capabilities an opportunity to be a part of a unique event in a truly fascinating region. It is a remarkably well organized and prepared event taking place in a location that simply begs the active individual to experience and explore. There is nothing like this one. Be a part of something very special. Please check it out at

Contact information:
Space Coast Marathon
c/o Running Zone
3680 North Wickham Road
Melbourne, Florida 32935

Phone: (321) 751-8890 or Email:



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