The Galveston Marathon returns to the beach for a second time Feb. 18. After years of a downtown course, the popular marathon, half marathon and 5K moved last year to a course that begins and ends near the waterfront Stewart Beach Pavilion.

“It went really well last year, so we’re looking forward to coming back,” race director Jana Landry said. “The pavilion is a big asset. It has real restrooms and a playground for kids while they’re waiting for finishers.”

Kids also have the option of a short fun run while the longer distances are underway.

“It’s just for fun, and there’s no charge for the kids,” Landry said. “They can go either a mile or a half-mile.”

Grown-ups also have a choice of distances, with a marathon, half marathon and 5K taking place. The half marathon and marathon begins with a loop through Beachtown, then climbs to the Seawall to head east toward Apffel Park. After running both ways along Boddeker Road, runners return to Seawall Boulevard for a long straightaway to the Pleasure Pier before returning to Stewart Beach.

At that point, the half-marathoners have completed their 13.1-mile run, while marathoners complete the circuit a second time. While the Gulf is never out of sight, the entire race is run on paved surfaces. The certified course is a Boston Marathon qualifier.

The accompanying 5K also starts at the Stewart Beach Pavilion and runs through Beachtown. The 5K starts at 7:45 a.m., following the 7:15 a.m. wheelchair/handcycle start and the 7:30 a.m. start of both the marathon and half marathon.

A few entries are still available.

“We have about 80 spots open right now between the three races,” Landry said. “We limit the total to 900 runners, and cap the 5K at 300, and are filling up. We have runners from 40 different states and some foreign countries, including Great Britain and Ecuador.”

Registration is open online at Galvestonmarathon.com.

Bernice Torregrossa: bernice92@aol.com

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