TYBEE ISLAND, Ga. (WTOC) - It’s time for the 2020 Critz Tybee Run Fest.
The annual event will take place Jan. 31-Feb. 1. Traffic will be impacted on Tybee Island during the event beginning as early as 3 a.m. on Thursday, Jan. 30, according to the City of Tybee Island.
Races will begin at approximately 6 p.m. on Friday and 7 a.m. on Saturday and will last until late afternoon, depending on the pace of the last runner.
Road congestion is expected on Butler Avenue from 14th Street to 17th Street during all races on Friday and Saturday. No parking zones will be set up on 15th Street, Tybrisa Street and the 16th Street parking lot along Strand Avenue up to 17th Street. The no-parking zones will be in effect beginning at 3 a.m. Thursday morning in the parking lot, and beginning at 3 a.m. Friday morning on affected streets.
Complete road closures will be on both 15th and Tybrisa Streets for the duration of the race, beginning Friday at 3 a.m. and reopening Saturday afternoon following clean-up.
“If you see the cones out and the police department out and about and you see the runners just slow down and be careful," said Tybee Island City Manager Shawn Gillen. "Part of the race is on the beach. The renourishment is wrapping up, so hopefully all the pipes will be off by the time they get here which we think they will.”
Despite the road closures, Gillen says the race is one of their most popular running events.
“This event along with, you know other, things like our Christmas parade and things like that are intended to get people out here during the off season when businesses are not as busy as the high season.”
For local businesses on Tybee, they’re hoping it will give them a big boost in the off season.
“We certainly welcome all of the runners who will be here and enjoying restaurants and we hope shopping," said Latitude 32 co-owner Jennifer Drazek. "I do believe it has been economically positive for me in the past years. Certainly having more people on the island will help all of us businesses, especially in January.”
Michael Flores is the manager of the T.S. Chu Department Store. He says this run, as well as other big events, are important, especially when the weather isn't bringing many people into the area.
"We are at the mercy of the weather. If the weather is bad, we are doing bad,” Flores said.
This is a weekend many in the area say they look forward to and it's an opportunity for non-locals to experience the Tybee Island atmosphere.
"We love events like these. We get people that are from Savannah, who we don't get to see as much, get them out here on the island and show them what beautiful view we offer here."
One restaurant owner said they’ve already had more tables fill up Friday than they’ve seen all winter.
The following areas will have road restrictions as racers pass through:
- The right/slow lane from Byers Avenue to Battery Drive on Highway 80, westbound side only
- The parking lane from Lewis Avenue to Miller Avenue on the south side of Highway 80
- Butler Avenue/Hwy. 80 in each direction from Tybrisa Street to 2nd Avenue
Lewis Avenue One lane on Lewis will be closed for only the length of time it takes for the race to pass.
Tybee South End Friday: 18th Street, 6th/7th Avenue, parts of Chatham Avenue, 12th Street, 2nd Avenue, Lovell Avenue; Saturday: 5th Avenue, Lewis Avenue, Miller Avenue, Butler Avenue.
Tybee North End The Saturday half marathon route will include the same streets as previous years with the addition of the entire length of Bay Street and Byers. Runners will access Highway 80 via Byers.
For additional race information, click here.