Sarasota’s longest running half marathon, the First Watch Sarasota Half Marathon, returns March 18, 2018 for it’s 13th year adding new, dedicated 10K course that opens for registration today and charity fundraising partnership with Save the Children.

Modified Start/Finish Course Route

Accommodating downtown construction and to provide a safer and wider corridor for the start/finish, the course has been modified to now head south of Boulevard of the Arts before turning left onto 6th street and then right onto Tamiami Trail.  The finish will follow the same route in reverse direction. In addition to a modified start/finish, the race will begin 15 minutes earlier at 6:30 a.m.

New 10K Course

The course modification allows race organizers the opportunity to provide a new, dedicated 10K course route to be added to this year’s race providing three different distance and race options for participants, which also include the half marathon (13.1 miles) and two-person relay (5.8-mile and 7.3-mile legs that follow the half marathon course).  The 10K runners will start with the rest of the field and follow the course up and over the John Ringling Bridge, around St. Armand’s Circle and then back to the start/finish line.  Registration for the 10K, with special pricing to the first registrants, opens at noon today (Feb. 20, 2018).

Special 10K Pricing

$50 – first 150 registrants
$60 – 151-250
$65 – 251-350
$70 – 351-1500

All 10K participants will receive a special 10K finisher’s medal along with the other First Watch breakfast, beer garden and participant shirt perks noted below.

Save the Children Partnership

With nearly 100 years of experience, Save the Children does whatever it takes to ensure children in the U.S. and around the world have a healthy start, the opportunity to learn, and protection from harm when disaster strikes. Save the Children is the national leader in child-focused preparedness, response and recovery efforts. “Following Hurricanes Irma and Maria, it was important for us to provide a means for runners to give back in a way that is impacting local recovery efforts,” said Dan Lakin, Run Brand Manager, Life Time.

Since August 2017, Save the Children’s Emergency Response Teams have been on the ground

inTexas, Florida and Puerto Rico following Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria, responding to the immediate needs of the most vulnerable during disaster – children. Life Time wants to bring this outreach opportunity to the Sarasota race community to give back and do whatever it can to create lasting change for children everywhere as the community prepares for another inspiring race and event.  For more information, visit

Team Save the Children is designed for runners who want to support the cause and help children around the world survive and thrive, and as well as earn special VIP perks as a thank you for their support in raising a minimum of $500 ($250 for 10K participants). Details may be found at

Fueling Sarasota’s economy today and tomorrow

According to a 2016 research study compiled by Temple University’s Sport Industry Research Center (SIRC) in Philadelphia and updated every two years, the First Watch Sarasota Half Marathon & Relay continues to be one of the area’s largest single event economic contributors, generating more than  $3.47M to the local economy, increasing household incomes of local residents by over $1.33M and generating 39 new jobs in the area.

Hotel room nights, F&B, Retail boosts

The race also attracts a significant number of visitors from outside the area, helping to fill hotel rooms, restaurants and bring business to retail stores.  Of the total 3,000 participants in 2016, 87 percent came from out of town with 46 percent of these staying in a local hotel, generating an estimated 1,385 room nights and $866,573 in total expenditures, an increase of 28 percent over 2015, which had $843,313 total expenditures.  Food & beverage generated almost $500K in revenue and retail shopping more than $262K.

Future vacation visitors

The race also bodes well for Sarasota tourism, with 74 percent of all non-local participants saying they would be willing to recommend Sarasota as a travel and more than half (55 percent) intending to return to Sarasota for a vacation within 12 months.

Participant perks

Runners and walkers also get special treatment from First Watch Restaurants, which sponsors the post-race party, including its signature healthy and elaborate post-race breakfast buffet, which includes made-to-order pancakes, fresh fruit yogurt parfaits, muffins, juice and more.  Festivities also include live entertainment and a beer garden (21 years and older) along with one of the most coveted finisher’s medals from any Florida endurance event.  Additional perks include:

  • Packet pick up locations in Miami, University Park (Sarasota) and on Race Day
  • Gender specific tech t-shirts
  • Runner tracking via text messaging
  • Goodie bag
  • Gear Check starting at 5:30 to 11:30 a.m. at start/finish (clear plastic bags provided in goodie bag)
  • Mile marker aid stations and highly visible timing system

Course route

The first half of the 13.1-mile course starts at Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall, goes over the John Ringling Bridge and around St. Armand’s then back to the Relay Exchange at 5.8 miles.  The second half of the course continues up US 41/Tamiami Trail before turning left at Indian Beach Drive and doing a neighborhood loop up to the Ringling Museum then returning back along Bay Shore Road to US41 and the finish at Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall.  The course is ideally suited for both runners and walkers (no strollers or pets) with a four-hour cut-off time (18 mins/mile pace).

Course Map:

Two-Person Relay Course & Exchange Area

The two-person relay consists of two segments, the first being 5.8 miles from Van Wezel to St. Armand’s and then back to the exchange area outside Van Wezel, which also serves as the 10K course route.  The next relay team leg covers 7.3 miles to the John & Mable Ringling Museum of Art and then back to Van Wezel, where teammates meet each other at the exchange area to finish the last 0.1 miles and cross the finish line together.

Location (start/finish)

6:30 am – first wave race start time
Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall
777 North Tamiami Trail
Sarasota, FL 34236

How to register