The Palm Beach Council voted 3-2 in favor of granting a permit to allow the Eau Palm Beach Marathon runners onto Palm Beach this winter, December 3. Breaking tradition, this vote adds a 1.2 mile route over the Flagler Memorial Bridge, along Lake Trail, and over the Royal Park Bridge.
Originally, race owner Ken Kennerly, had proposed a four mile route over the middle bridge, down Royal Palm Way, south on Ocean Boulevard, and back. The modified route will be less obstructive to residents, and will be further from President Trump's Mar-a-Lago Club should he be in town that weekend.
Based on Kennerly's adjustments, Mayor Gail Coniglio agreed to "give it a shot," in addition to President Richard Kleid and Councilwomen Maggie Zeiden and Danielle Moore. "I think this is a very workable plan....I think it's good for our community," Zeiden said.
Many residents, however, have expressed concern about noise, traffic and security. Councilwomen Julie Araskog and Bobby Lindsay did not agree with the vote, and have received negative responses regarding the marathon. "We could have a situation where nobody can get off the island," said Araskog, referring to South Boulevard closing north of Mar-a-Lago if the president is in town.
Kirk Blouin, Public Safety Director, said Fire-Rescue and police crews could respond to an emergency if necessary. He added that, "there is going to be an impact to the community whether it happens here or in West Palm Beach" and that "this is doable from a public safety perspective."
Runners are expected to enter Palm Beach at 6am and exit at 7am, with cones and debris picked up by 7:15am. The northern westbound lane on the middle bridge would be closed for about and a half during the race, and the North Bridge will be completely closed until 10am, pending approvals for the City.
For more information on the Eau Palm Beach Marathon, visit the halfmarathons.com.