1959 Gold Coast Marathon from North Miami to West Palm Beach on the Intracoastal

1959 Gold Coast Marathon from North Miami to West Palm Beach on the Intracoastal
1959 Gold Coast Marathon from North Miami to West Palm Beach on the Intracoastal

From 1949 until sometime in the early 1970s, speed boat enthusiasts raced in the Gold Coast Marathon, an unlimited race with as many as 13 classes from the Pelican Harbor Yacht Club at the 79th Street Causeway to West Palm Beach and back the following day. The brainchild of Sam Griffiths, founder of the Pelican Harbor Yacht Club, Griffiths himself was a powerboat racer who won the first Marathon and two others. Top finishers completed the first 67-mile leg in one hour. The very best drivers in hydroplanes topped 100 miles per hour in the fastest stretches of the race course. In later years, the Marathon moved to the new Miami Marine Stadium amidst safety concerns when scores of small boats entered the race. Toward the end, the Marathon garnered the sanctioning of the prestigious American Power Boating Association. The long-abandoned Stadium is now in the hands of preservationists who hope to restore the Stadium to its former beauty and style along with educational programming.