Posted on 2/4/2012
Well it is that time of the year again and Seaside is holding their tenth annual Half Marathon and 5K Run on Sunday March 4, 2012. Ocean Reef Resorts is pleased to offer special accommodations for these superb marathon runners and their cheering spectator fans. This event has become increasingly popular over the years and is now one of the premier marathons in Florida. In fact last year over 3,000 runners participated and this year will probably top that record since preregistration for runners is already at capacity. The 5K portion of the marathon is limited to about 800 serious long distance runners with another 2,200 "weekend warriors" participating in the Half Marathon.
The race starts at 7am Sunday morning and officially goes until 10am. The gorgeous Scenic 30A course will be partially blocked off to automobile traffic at that time. Both races start and end in the center of Seaside with all monies earned being contributed to the Seaside Neighborhood Charter School. The entire course is certified by the United States of America Track and Field (USATF), organization which is the official governing body for all track, field, long distance running and race walking nationwide. The half marathon and large parts of the full 5K marathon start at Seaside running (literally and figuratively) west through Watercolor, Grayton Beach, Blue Mountain Beach and Santa Rosa Beach. The turnaround point will be at Gulf Place which is the unofficial town center of Santa Rosa Beach. Most of the running course is flat with scenic vistas of the emerald green gulf, pristine coastal dune lakes and beautiful forested areas along the route. If you run the course you can impress all your friends telling them that you raced over the highest elevation located above the Gulf of Mexico at Blue Mountain Beach. However you don't have to tell them that it is really only a big hill that wraps around the curve at Draper Lake, unless you want to do so! Almost all of the rest of the course is flat so the running pace should be fast. Volunteers and the Walton County Sheriff's Department will monitor blocked off traffic as well as cheer you on while providing liquid refreshments. The weather here at that time of the year is usually picture perfect which means sunny with highs in the seventies and very little humidity. It is one of those relatively little known wonderful environmental perks about The Emerald Coast, since we are blessed with this kind of wonderful weather for at least two months during the spring and two more months in the fall. Besides the great weather, runners and spectators will enjoy live musical entertainment at Seaside as well as good food, beer, frozen beverages and creative retail vendors selling their local wares. Then of course everyone has the pleasure of enjoying the crystalline sugar white beach that parallels the Scenic 30A route with the jewel toned waters beyond.
If you haven't made your rental accommodations as of yet or have family or friends planning on coming down to cheer you on, Ocean Reef Resorts has a number of vacation rentals near the Seaside Half Marathon from which to choose. Be sure to check out our pictured property listings on the website to see all of your choices. However, here are a few to consider.
Seaside Blitz is a three bedroom, three bath beach home at Seagrove (walking distance to the start of the marathon) that has been completely renovated and can sleep up to thirteen guests since it has two king sized beds, three twin bunk beds, a day bed and a queen sized sleeper sofa. This spacious home has a large open living area with a vaulted ceiling, fireplace, big flat screen TV and updated kitchen. It is brightly decorated in light pleasing pastel colors. The separate dining area seats six around a rectangular glass topped table with another table seating four more in an ocean front family room. This room has a wall of windows that take advantage of this high dune location for awesome southerly views of the sparkling gulf. Doors lead out to a huge, deep, open sun deck which extends across the entire beach side of the house with multiple chaise lounge sitting areas and a built in stone table with three benches around it. Steps lead down to the beach below making it a great space to take in some sun, listen to the sounds of the surf and enjoy your favorite refreshments with family friends. Sometimes you will even see pods of dolphin swimming by below or squadrons of pelicans doing aerial bombardments to gather fish. Besides the two suites that have king sized beds, the third bedroom has three twin bunk beds which can sleep the kids in their own quarters. There is also a separate Game Room which has a Ping Pong Table, a Foosball setup and Bumper Pool.
Another nice choice is Driftwood which is a cream colored two story cottage on a quiet street off Scenic 30A in Seagrove Beach (only 1.3 miles from the race site). This charming residence has three bedrooms with two and one
half baths along with its own private pool in the back. The tan tiled flooring and comfortable furnishings done with bamboo as well as wood accents provide a very homey, cottage like feel. A breakfast bar faces the open kitchen with two royal blue Director Chairs and the dining room has a long rectangular table with eight high backed wooden chairs that are the color of maple syrup. The three bedrooms have that same cozy cottage look and are located on the second floor. One has a king sized bed, the other is queen sized and the third has a double with a separate Trundle bed. A cute loft upstairs has an additional twin sized bed. Outdoors in the back is a very private lagoon shaped pool which is roughly ten by twenty feet long. It is surrounded by a bright deck with a white picket fence border and beautiful blue chaise lounges with views of the woods.
If you are in need of a slightly larger home in Seagrove Beach (2.5 miles from the marathon starting line) then Lucky Charm might be a fortuitous choice! This two story residence has four bedrooms and three baths but sleeps twelve with ten of the guests in beds. It is located in the "Summer's Edge" neighborhood which is a collection of these new but nostalgic Florida styled homes, most of which have white picket fences and breezeways. Lucky Charm has a tall covered front porch with a big covered balcony above which comes off the Master Bedroom Suite upstairs. Indoors the open main living area has a tiled floor with quite a few floor to ceiling windows for lots of sunny light. This is decorated in a down home, contemporary style with a big "L" shaped plaid couch facing the armoire entertainment cabinet. On the other side is a square maple wood dining table with six curve backed wooden chairs near the open kitchen. A breakfast bar is accented by four raised, black metal Bistro type chairs with cheery red cushions facing the white bright, ample kitchen. The charming Florida style continues upstairs in all four bedrooms. Two have king sized beds, one has a queen sized version and the fourth actually has a nice white metal framed double with an adjacent matching twin bunk bed. Just a short two minute stroll away from this home is the Summer's Edge Community Swimming Pool which is nearly Olympic size but with a wavy edge on one of the four sides. It is quite lovely and has dressing rooms, showers and bathroom facilities.
If you have even more friends and family arriving to cheer you on in the Seaside Half Marathon then you might want to check out At Redfish in Blue Mountain Beach. This newer three story home has five bedrooms, four full baths and two half baths. There is even a roof top terrace with sweeping views of the Gulf of Mexico in the distance and the lake below. In addition to proximity to the beach, this home also sits beside Big Red Fish Lake which is a protected, precious lagoon created by a coastal dune that separates it from the gulf. These beautiful wooded lakes are known not only for their world wide rarity but also by the fact that they support an abundant amount of fish, flora and fauna. It's like staying in a lake house but with views of the nearby beach. Wrap around covered balconies with nice wicker furniture take advantage of the multiple views. They are located on all four levels of this home, some of which are larger decks coming off of main living areas and bedroom suites. The rental home also features a twenty five by twelve foot heated swimming pool and adjoining spa (perfect for after the race). The Great Room on the third floor has a spacious living area with beautiful hardwood floors, extra large contemporary styled furniture, an open state of the art kitchen with stainless steel appliances and gleaming wood cabinetry as well as a chic looking dining table with eight high backed, armless red leather chairs. Almost every bedroom is a suite with its own private bath and there is a kitchenette bar downstairs on the first level with bedroom quarters as well as a bar with kitchenette on the roof top terrace. The special Roof Terrace is a great spot to enjoy the views with a Margarita or glass of wine while cooking on the gas grill that is conveniently located there. There is also a covered arbor up there for dining with a roof top stereo system for soothing musical ambiance.
Be sure to check out photos of our South Walton vacation rentals on our website in order to find the one that will best suit the needs for your own private Seaside Marathon Party. Ocean Reef Resorts is pleased to be able our guests such distinctive properties as your own home away from home while you're here. We have been doing so for almost thirty years and are here to provide true Southern Hospitality to all of our guests. Happy trails!
Keep reading: 30A Runs & Races