JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Tens of thousands of runners and spectators will be out in Downtown Jacksonville early Saturday morning for the city's biggest running event of the year: the Gate River Run. Those who aren't running or cheering on those on the 9.3-mile course can watch live coverage on the race on The Morning Show.
Friday is the last day for local runners -- those from Duval, Clay, St. Johns and Nassau counties -- to pick up their race packets at the Runner's Expo. Doors to the expo, which is located at 510 Fairgrounds Place in Jacksonville, open at 11 a.m. and close at 7 p.m.
Runners coming from outside those four counties can pick up their packets at the expo from 7-8 a.m. Saturday for a $5 fee if they chose day-of-race pickup when they registered.
The 15K race starts at 8 a.m. on Gator Bowl Boulevard between TIAA Bank Field and Metropolitan Park. It finishes on Duval Street in front of the Jacksonville Fairgrounds. The Florida Times-Union 5K for Charity also begins at 8 a.m. It starts on Duval Street in front of the fairgrounds and finishes inside the fairgrounds, entering from A. Philip Randolph Boulevard.
Race organizers encourage runners and spectators to arrive early because traffic will be heavy and some roads will be closed along the race route. All race participants need to be in position by 7:30 a.m. and are encouraged to arrive no later than 7 a.m.
Parking is free at several TIAA Bank Field lots around the race start.
Gator Bowl Boulevard between Georgia and Duval streets will be closed from noon Friday until 1 p.m. Saturday. There will be a bypass around the starting structure on Friday through parking Lot J for in-bound town traffic and through parking Lot K for from town-bound traffic.
Race Day Course Closures:
- Bay Street (TIAA Bank Field to Main Street Bridge): 7:15- 8:45 a.m.
- Main Street Bridge: 7:45- 9 a.m.
- Riverplace Blvd. - Prudential Drive: 8-9:15 a.m.
- San Marco Blvd. (Prudential to Laverne): 8-9:30 a.m.
- River Road and River Oaks Road: 8:15-9:45 a.m.
- Hendricks Ave. (River Oaks to Alexandria): 8:20-10 a.m.
- Alexandria and Belote: 8:20-10:15 a.m.
- Atlantic Blvd. westbound (Belote to Holmesdale): 8:20-10:30 a.m.
- Holmesdale, Nicholson, Olive and Gay: 8:20-10:45 a.m.
- Altantic Blvd. West Bound (Gay to Hart Bridge): 8:20-11 a.m.
- Hart Bridge Southeast Bound (Atlantic Blvd to Duval Street: 7:45-11:30 a.m.
- Duval and Gator Bowl Blvd.: 8:15 a.m.-noon
The St. Johns River Taxi will be running early on March 9 for those who don't want to drive to the race site. Service starts at 6:30 a.m. Daily tickets for the River Taxi are $10 for adults and $8 for kids 3 -12. The ticket allows passengers to ride the taxi all day.
The taxis will run continuously to and from the Metropolitan Park dock, which is 0.15 miles from the start of the race and 0.65 miles from the finish line, from 6:30 a.m. to 11 p.m.
The river taxi accepts cash only for special events. Parking for the Lexington Hotel stop is available in the Duval County School Board lot for free and is a very close walk to get on the taxi.
The loop goes from the Lexington Hotel dock to the Metropolitan Park dock to the Jacksonville Landing dock to the Friendship Fountain dock to the Doubletree Dock. The loop takes up to 30 minutes if stopping at all stops, but is much shorter depending on where passengers are getting off. The Lexington Hotel to Metropolitan Park loop only takes 5-10 minutes.
For runners, the miles along the race route will be marked and digital clocks will display the elapsed time at each mile mark. All 15K participants need to be to the Hart Bridge -- which is at mile 7.5 -- by 10:30 a.m.
Water Stations and toilets will be located throughout the course, and entertainment will be provided each mile during the race.
At the start area, restrooms will be located in Lots J and D on the north side of the starting line on Gator Bowl Boulevard and the restrooms in Metropolitan Park will be open on the south side of the starting line. Start water stations will be available in Lots J and D and at Metropolitan Park.
The race will start in waves. The first wave will start at 8 a.m. (elite women start at 7:54 a.m.), and waves 2, 3, and 4 will start after a short delay between each wave. Walkers should start at the back of Wave 4 on Gator Bowl Blvd. For more information, go to http://www.1stplacesports.com/grr_eventinfo.html.
Runners are encouraged to wear their race number on the front of your clothing if you want to be identified in online pictures.