As the Myrtle Beach Marathon prepares for its first event under new organizers, the city decided Tuesday it won’t vote on a five-year contract until after the March 4 race.
The decision will not affect the 2017 race, which already has been approved. But Councilman Wayne Gray expressed concern over committing to a partnership with a company that has not had a chance to manage the race.
“It’s kind of like I’d like us to court before we get married,” Gray said.
An agreement presented to Myrtle Beach City Council Tuesday would have had the city foot the bill — as it has every year — for police, sanitation, EMT and traffic services for the event as Raleigh-based Capstone Event Group runs it for the first time. That group eventually would pay the city a fee of $5 per participant, but not until the 2019 race. John Kane, of CEG, said that the event is expected to draw 6,300 participants this year.
City Manager John Pedersen said the per-player fees were expected to cover about 60 percent of the city’s costs in the future, but that the city receives a significant amount of money — about $53,000 last year — in extra fees and taxes collected during the event. But Gray remained skeptical.
“I’d like to experience a race and a marathon with this group before we enter into a five-year contract,” he said.
City council will consider a contract with the group again after the race.
For 19 years, the marathon was run by a board of volunteers, who began receiving stipends a few years ago. In October, The Sun News reported that the board was selling the rights to the event.
“It got to the point where they said ‘This is the farthest we can take this event, we don’t really have the resources to make it grow,’” Pedersen said.
Kane said he understood that his group needs to build a relationship with the city.
“We’re new folks in town and understand this is an event the city has invested in deeply for many, many years,” he said.