Jose Diaz and Heather Schulz capture half-marathon crowns; Drivers Jimmie Johnson and Michael Waltrip run the half
DAYTONA BEACH (February 16, 2014) – A perfect morning in Daytona Beach provided great running conditions for the more than 1,500 runners that participated in the Daytona Beach Half Marathon on Sunday. Six-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson and two-time Daytona 500 champion Michael Waltrip were among those that participated in the half-marathon.
The men’s half marathon winner was Jose Diaz, from Orlando, with a time of 1 hour, 14 minutes, 55 seconds. The women’s half-marathon winner was Heather Schulz, from Orlando, with a time of 1:25:37. Jimmie Johnson finished 3rd in the men’s 35-39 age division, with a time of 1:28:16. Michael Waltrip finished the half-marathon with a time of 2:16:38.
Hosted by Volusia County, the Daytona International Speedway and the Central Florida Sports Commission, the Daytona Beach Half Marathon is an official event of the Budweiser Speedweeks lineup, taking place just one week before the 56th running of “The Great American Race” – the Daytona 500. In addition to NASCAR drivers participating in the race, other touches enhanced the NASCAR experience for the runners, such as classic race cars placed along the route and checkered flags marking the beach portion of the course. In addition, each runner received two tickets to the DAYTONA 500 Qualifying Presented by Kroger, which is held today at 1pm, just three hours after the last runner crosses the finish line.
"There's no other race in the country like the Daytona Beach Half Marathon, where you start at the world's most famous racetrack, run on the world's most famous beach and finish at the world's most famous finish line," said Volusia County Manager Jim Dinneen, who also ran the half marathon today. "And, by adding the Lap the Track and kids races this year, we really created a family event and what I believe will become the 'can't miss race' of the season."
Runners began the half marathon on pit road at Daytona International Speedway and circled around the first two miles of the track, exiting the track at Gate 7, underneath construction from the DAYTONA Rising project. Runners then headed east on International Speedway Blvd continuing over the bridge, getting their first glimpse of the Halifax River and the beach, then finally reaching “The World’s Most Famous Beach” at approximately the 7.1 mile mark. Runners then ran on the beach for approximately two-tenths of a mile, getting an unobstructed view of the ocean as the sun rose on the beautiful horizon. Returning to the roads of Daytona Beach, runners then headed back to the Speedway for the finish and a trip to Gatorade Victory Lane.
New this year, the event also included a Lap the Track fun run, presented by the Florida Department of Transportation, and a Kids Race. Nearly 200 participated in the Lap the Track, presented by Florida Department of Transportation, which gave runners the opportunity to experience all the sights and sounds of Budweiser Speedweeks with one lap (approximately 2.2 miles) around the Daytona International Speedway. More than 30 kids, ages 11 years and younger, took part in the Kids Races with distances ranging from 100 to 400 yards.
Combining all three races, more than 1,700 runners took park in the festivities today. With approximately an additional 2,200 spectators in attendance, the Daytona Beach Half Marathon, and the additional races, are expected to generate a significant impact for Volusia County. Initial estimates indicate that the event will result in over 800 room nights and nearly $1 million in economic impact for the County.
“The Daytona Beach Half Marathon is a key part of the Sports Commission’s strategy to grow sports tourism in Volusia County,” said John Bisignano, Central Florida Sports Commission President/CEO. “It starts with a high performance team - Jim Dinneen & his Volusia County team, Joie Chitwood & the Daytona International Speedway team and the Central Florida Sports Commission team. It continues with a unique product - home of ‘The Great American Race’ and ‘The World’s Most Famous Beach’ and finishes with a focused effort to bring more high quality and unique events that drive economic value for Volusia County.”
Complete results can be found at the Dayton Beach Half Marathon website, www.daytonabeachhalf.com or at www.altavistasports.com. The date for the 2015 Daytona Beach Half Marathon will be released in the coming weeks. For real time updates and news, like the race on Facebook @Daytona Beach Half Marathon or follow on twitter @daytonahalf