OCEAN CITY – Plans to turn the resort pink next year continue to be finalized, as the inaugural Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure in Ocean City approaches.
Earlier this year, the Mayor and Council authorized the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure to take place in Ocean City. Before this week, the last time the event’s coordinators approached the Mayor and City Council requesting minor changes was in the spring.
“After our review and further consideration of what this event will be bringing into the town, they asked for two items from the transportation department,” Ocean City Private Events Coordinator Lisa Mitchell said.
Registered participants in the race can reach up to 10,000 if not more and this week’s requests were minor tweaks in having the event run as smoothly as possible.
Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure coordinators have asked the town to provide a dedicated shuttle to run from the Convention Center to the Inlet Lot from 6 a.m. until 8 a.m. to transport participations as well as have the town’s bus system run in 10-minute intervals from 5 a.m. until noon, in order to transport event participators avoiding as much traffic and parking issues as possible. The transportation department has estimated the requested services to cost a total of $13,300.
Mitchell said that the quote received from the transportation department is a high estimate since it is still unclear how many people will participate. Once the event receives the number of registrants, the cost estimate will become more defined. Also, after discussion with Komen’s organizers the timeframe for the shuttle and bus service can be decreased, which would also significantly decrease the cost estimate. She added that shuttle and bus riders will be paying their way and that the cost would be returned to the town.
Council President Jim Hall questioned whether a dedicated shuttle service would be needed if the bus system was running in 10-minute intervals.
“We are concerned about not having a private shuttle … if we do end up with 6,000 people trying to get to the same place at the same time we want to be prepared for that so I think based on registrants, if we have 3,000 people we might decide not to do the dedicated shuttle but we want to be prepared at the high end if we do have 10,000” Eastern Shore Race and Development Coordinator Lydia Wooten said.
Councilman Joe Hall asked Wooten to remain working closely with the town’s transportation department while moving forward with the event.
“A lot of times those shuttles we end up putting them there and they don’t end up getting utilized to their full potential and when we’re on a 10-minute service on the road we can really move the people, and then they don’t have to get in their car and drive to the convention center they can step out from their hotels,” he said.
Mayor Rick Meehan had confidence in in shuttle service and its associated costs would work out in the long run.
“This will be the biggest event we ever had in April in Ocean City and this has the potential to grow tremendously over the years,” the mayor said. “I think it will become a signature event in the spring in Ocean City and to have the opportunity to have an event like this for such a terrific cause fits perfectly for Ocean City, and certainly fits well for April so we are happy to have that.”
Councilwoman Mary Knight said after meeting with the Komen group and its administration over the weekend it was mentioned that Komen is going to host a couple of events around January inviting the private businesses to become involved with the race in April.
“The private sector can get extremely involved with painting the town pink,” Knight said. “Pink pancakes, pink martinis, pink everything.”
Knight added that because the event takes place on a Sunday that Ocean City hotels should take into consideration pushing back their check out time.
“So folks can stay in town, shower after the event, visit our restaurants and spend some time on the beach,” she said. “I am very excited and if you are invited to any of these events Komen has I would say please go because the energy there is just amazing.”
The City Council voted unanimously to approve the requests.
The Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure will take place in downtown Ocean City on April 22, 2012, with registration and activities starting as early as 6 a.m. There will be two different races, the 5K and the 1-Mile. Both race routes will begin on Somerset Street working its way up the Boardwalk, turn left and move back down on Baltimore Avenue to end in the Inlet Lot.
The Komen organization puts a spotlight on important breast health issues for all participants and beyond. Of the money raised at the Komen Maryland Race for the Cure each year, up to 75 percent stays in Maryland to fund local programs for women and families. The remaining 25 percent of funding supports national research to find the cures for breast cancer. In 2011, the organization is funding 29 grant programs across the state, totaling over $2.4 million.