Runners upset by fees for Rock 'N Roll St. Pete Half Marathon

6:49 PM, Feb 10, 2012   |    comments
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ST. PETERSBURG, Florida -- Eight thousand runners and thousands more spectators will take over downtown St. Pete this weekend for the city's first ever Rock 'N Roll Half Marathon.

"I cannot wait.  I've been looking forward to having the Rock 'N Roll series in St. Petersburg for a long time," said runner Sandy Singleton.

Runners from 49 states and 12 countries packed Tropicana Field Friday to pick up their registration information, something all participants must do before the race.

But parking to do that costs $15, something many runners say they didn't know when they paid as much as $100 for the race itself.

Runners will have to pay $15 more to park at the Trop for the start of the race on Sunday as well.

"I've heard a lot of people complaining about the parking.  It is an issue, it's a problem," Singleton said.

That's not the only complaint, either. The race starts at the Trop, but ends at North Shore Park, which is 2.3 miles away.

That means when runners finish their 13.1 mile journey, their options are to walk another 45 minutes back to their car... or take a shuttle, which costs as much as $10.

The for-profit Rock 'N Roll Marathon's Facebook page is filled with complaints.

One person wrote "That's absurd!  Pay to run, pay to park, pay to get to start/finish.  Just raise the entry fee and quit nickel and diming everyone!"

Race organizers from the California-based Competitor Group say to use the Trop, the agreement called for the Rays to get the parking money.

As for separate start and finish lines, they say there's not enough room -- with stages and sponsors tents -- to do both in one place.

"We really needed to have the space here at Tropicana Field for the start, and we needed a nice, big space, preferably waterfront, for the finish, for the runner experience," said Dana Allen.

One cheaper option for runners is to use city parking on the streets, but police warn not to park in private lots at the risk of getting towed.

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