Scheduled for February 28th through March 1st, 2020, the Seaside® School Race Weekend is a three-day event featuring amazing coastal cuisine at the Taste of the Race (with Chef Emeril Lagasse), plenty of fun for all ages at the Race Expo and the 18th Annual Half Marathon & 5K along the iconic Scenic Highway 30-A starting and finishing in the colorful neighborhood of Seaside, FL.
Whether you are a serious distance racer, a casual weekend runner, a supportive spectator or just someone looking to enjoy three days in Seaside® at one of South Walton’s favorite annual traditions, come join the fun at the 18th Annual Seaside® School Half Marathon & 5K. Scheduled for February 28th through March 1st, 2020, the Seaside® School Race Weekend is a three-day event featuring amazing coastal cuisine, festive gatherings and races starting and finishing in the colorful neighborhood of Seaside, FL. If you’ve ever seen the Jim Carrey film, The Truman Show, then you have an idea of the kind of beautiful coastal architecture, natural beauty and eye-catching scenery that you’ll find along the route at the annual race. The course takes runners on a long, straightaway-style out-and-back course along Scenic Highway 30-A through several of the quaint beach towns that make up South Walton along Florida’s Gulf coast.
You’ll feel immediately at ease in Seaside® — here, most people get around by bike or by foot. Funky airstream trailers serve doughnuts, hot dogs, BBQ, shaved ice and more; just down the road you’ll find cozy cafés and a specialty market. As anyone who has been here knows, Seaside® is best experienced by actually spending time here. Those who rent homes in Seaside® for a vacation make it an annual trip, sharing it with generations of their family. Seaside® is a completely walkable, charming community with great architecture and amazing things around every corner.
Race weekend offers three days of events with Seaside® serving as the hub for activities all weekend along. One of Northwest Florida’s top culinary events, live music and a silent auction full featuring a collection of items and experiences that are quintessential Seaside® are just a few of the activities that will guests will be treated to before race day even arrives. Taste of the Race with Chef Emeril Lagasse kicks off the weekend on Friday evening under the tent at the Seaside® Lyceum. Saturday’s Race Expo and Silent Auction is one big party with vendors, food and live entertainment all afternoon. Sunday is race day followed by a post-race party with live music. With the town of Seaside® as the host, it’s no wonder why runners, beach lovers and foodies have this weekend circled on their calendars year after year.
Friday, February 28th – Pre-Race Party, Taste of The Race
Taste of the Race with Chef Emeril Lagasse marks the official start of the three-day race weekend celebration. The annual culinary event takes place on Friday night at the Seaside® Lyceum, from 7:00 to 9:00 PM, with a VIP reception from 6:00 to 7:00 PM. This vibrant event is not just for race participants, everyone is invited to celebrate, enjoy amazing food and live music and kick off another great Seaside® race weekend! Chef Emeril Lagasse is live and in-person for the event, and guests enjoy cuisine from Emeril’s restaurants, along with some of the Gulf Coast’s top chefs and restaurants such as Great Southern Cafe and The Bay. Fine wine, craft spirits and local brews from the Grayton Beer Company will pair perfectly with the chefs’ preparations. While Seaside® is widely known for its perfectly pastel houses, unmistakable beaches and white picket fences, the local culinary scene is no secret to foodies from far and wide. There’s no better way to celebrate all things Seaside® and start race weekend off right. The outdoor festivities are held rain or shine in a heated tent where guests can also get the first peak and beginning bidding on items at the highly-anticipated silent auction benefiting the Seaside® School. Bidding will take place throughout the weekend at all events.
Space is extremely limited and tickets go fast, so be sure to grab yours while they last at www.runseasidefl.com.
(INSIDER TIP: Race registration packet pickup is also available during the event for ticketed guests only.)
Saturday, February 29th (Leap Day!) – Race Expo
2020 gives us one extra day and there is no better way to spend it than at the Race Expo. The Race Expo is free to attend and open to the general public from 12:00 to 6:00 PM at the Seaside® Lyceum. This is the time for race participants pick up their registration packets and highly sought after commemorative race shirt. As all of the weekend’s events are uniquely Seaside®, this is no ordinary packet pick-up party. Local and national vendors at the Expo will offer a wide variety of equipment, apparel, footwear and accessories for runners in addition to specialty items that anyone would enjoy. The Silent Auction continues during the day with plenty of opportunity to bid up your favorite items including local vacation packages, one-of-a-kind artwork from South Walton artists and rare merchandise that can’t be found anywhere else. Like all events that are a part of the 2020 Seaside® School Race Weekend, the Race Expo takes place in the heart of Seaside® with its dozens of shops, restaurants, art galleries and sweeping views of the Gulf of Mexico making it the perfect precursor to the weekend’s main event.
Sunday, March 1st – The Main Event
One of South Walton’s most popular events, the Seaside® School Half Marathon & 5K takes place Sunday, March 1st beginning at 7:00 AM. Established in 2003 to raise funds for the Seaside® Neighborhood School, the Race has become a huge community affair, drawing in more than 4,000 runners annually from around the world.
Both the 13.1-mile half marathon and the 5K start in downtown Seaside® on Scenic Highway 30-A. As runners line up at the start line within an earshot of the Gulf of Mexico, curious pelicans and the smell of saltwater fill the crisp morning air. From there, runners exit Seaside® and pass through neighboring WaterColor before crossing over picturesque Western Lake and entering the historic beach town of Grayton Beach. For the half marathoners, the fast and mostly flat course continues along Scenic Highway 30-A through the tranquil Point Washington State Forest and the old Florida beach town of Blue Mountain Beach before reaching its halfway point at Gulf Place and doubling back another six and a half miles towards the finish line. As if the beach views and natural beauty of South Walton weren’t enough, runners will be treated to makeshift cheering sections, signs of encouragement and plenty of water stations along the way. The sounds of the post-race party and awaiting family, friends and spectators greet runners as they approach the finish line back where it all started in downtown Seaside®. Half marathon finishers will receive a unique race medal and gift from long-time race sponsor Vera Bradley. A complimentary beer from Grayton Beer Company and post-race meal from award-winning Seaside® restaurants refuel racers just enough to enjoy the post-race party and awards presentation.
For those looking for the Seaside® Race experience with a shorter distance, the 5K offers 3.1 miles of scenic beauty, comradery and fun for runners and walkers alike. The timed race is one of the weekend’s most enjoyable events for people of all ages and ability levels. See the race route map for the Seaside® School Half Marathon here.
Finishers from both races along with family, friends and spectators stick around long after the finish line has been crossed to enjoy the post-race party throughout the town of Seaside®. Live music, race awards and the silent auction’s final call entertain the crowds as they stroll the many restaurants and shops of downtown Seaside® or rest their race-tested legs on the amphitheater lawn. A race weekend tradition, the post-race party has become a time to reflect on three days of festivities for runners and non-runners alike and to start planning and setting race goals for the next year’s event while enjoy all that the iconic town of Seaside® has to offer.
New for 2020
- New Mobile App: This year’s race will feature live GPS tracking, progress alerts and ‘send a cheer’ capability through the race’s mobile app. Let your biggest fans track your performance and send you words of encouragement whether you are trying to set a new personal record or running in your first ever race event.
- Virtual Gift Bags: Seaside® benefits from being located at the edge of the Gulf of Mexico with nearby coastal dune lakes, gulf-front state parks and pine forest with rare and protected wildlife. With this in mind, the 2020 Seaside® School Race Weekend is going green by offering virtual gift bags for all registered runners. The virtual gift bag offering special offers and merchandise from race sponsors can be accessed online and will help us eliminate thousands of pounds of waste that would be generated from traditional race gift bags.
- Referral Program: Running is more fun with a friend…or 10! With this in mind a Referral Program has been created for this year’s race. The Seaside School Half Marathon & 5K will give a complimentary general admission ticket to the Taste of the Race event on the Friday evening before the race if 10 new registrants for either the Half Marathon or 5K use a friend’s registration referral code at registration. Runners will receive a personal referral code in their confirmation email after registering, and can simply share this code with friends and family for them to use.
About the Seaside® School
100% of the race profits benefit the Seaside® School, a tuition-free, local neighborhood school serving students who not only live along Highway 30A, but also across Walton County. The Seaside® School opened in 1996 to 36 students, 2 faculty members and a single administrator serving students in sixth through eighth grades. Today, the school has expanded to fifth through twelfth grades, serving over 330 students with plans to add K4 through fourth in the near future.
Whether you’re running, sponsoring or enjoying the Taste of the Race, please know that your support is greatly appreciated by the Seaside® Neighborhood School, Seacoast Collegiate High School and our community as a whole. Your participation reduces class size. Your participation provides middle school and high school students an opportunity for creative, elective classes such as gardening, music, arts, as well as an award-winning robotics program, advanced placement classes, and career-readiness industry certification courses.
Official Race Contact Information
Have a question regarding your race registration, sponsorship or the Seaside® School? Simply email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the website at runseasidefl.com. Connect and share your experience online with the hashtag #runseasidefl, and be sure to follow the Race on social media at:
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SeasideSchoolHalfMarathon/
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/runseasidefl
- Instagram: https://twitter.com/runseasidefl