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The stage is set for Thursday’s St. Pete Pier Run

Bill DeYoung

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A total of 2,400 are expected to participate in Thursday's St. Pete Pier Run. Photos provided.

Some people participate in timed public runs because they like to compete. Some do it for their health. Some, for fun. Still others enjoy being outdoors in the cool of the early morning – when that first flag drops – and admiring the scenery as it goes by.

In St. Petersburg, that last reason is especially true. The St. Pete Pier Run began four years ago, when the “new” pier opened, and has picked up steam (and gained participants) each go-round.

There are two “waves” Thursday morning, at 6:30 and 7:45 a.m., each consisting of 1,200 participants.

“It’s a run-slash-walk,” says organizer Ryan Jordan, who also produces the November St. Pete Run Fest. “That’s important to know. You don’t have to be a world-class runner to be in this thing. We have a ton of walkers.”

There are just a few dozen spots left for late registrants (check here). There is an accompanying festival, which means that even those who choose not to run – or walk – can enjoy the early Fourth of July morning on the Pier, and observe the footwork, for free.

Co-sponsors Colony Grill, Churned Small Batch Ice Cream, Green Bench Brewing, 3 Daughters Brewing, Dunkin and Mother Kombucha will have refreshments for sale.  

“It’s a celebration of what makes St. Pete great,” Jordan proclaims. “It’s the uniqueness of our community, from the waterfront to the varied local partners. Every year we’ve tried to improve the experience, teaming more and more with the City in terms of their programming.”

Girls Rock St. Pete will put two bands on the Spa Beach stage, Anarkitty and Hex Appeal, Wednesday from 4 to 6 p.m., as the next day’s runners are picking up their bibs and paperwork. The above-mentioned local partners will be on hand with refreshments, too.

Thursday’s course looks like this: “It starts and ends at Spa Beach,” Jordan says. “It heads out, as the sun comes up, to the pierhead. You run around, and after that leg on the pier, and then you run north on North Shore Drive, by the pool, turn back around and re-trace your steps on the Pier, finishing on Spa Beach. Of the four miles, almost two are actually on the Pier.”

At 9 a.m. comes that tried and true, all-American Independence Day festival favorite, the pie-eating contest.

According to Jordan, “It’s a lot of fun. The winner is subjective – a lot of times, if you can get through that whole pie, down through the crust, you are crowned the winner. Some of them are wearing it.”

Registered runners were asked if they were interested in the pastry-consumption competition.

“And we had 69 folks say they wanted to do it. We had to narrow that down to 20 of the best pie-eating individuals in the community.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

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