Parks and Recreation Commission recommends city sponsor marathon


If money were raised from the event, some of it would go toward city land acquisition, although the event organizer said the possibility of profits is minimal.

By Lisa Lorber /Special to The Malibu Times

and Jonathan Friedman/Staff Writer

At its June 23 meeting, the Parks and Recreation Commission voted to recommend the City Council approve Malibu’s sponsorship of the Malibu Marathon. The council will vote on the recommendation at its July 12 meeting.

Glen Steele, a Malibu resident who is organizing the event that is scheduled to take place in December, had sought the city’s sponsorship at a council meeting in May. The council declined to make a decision until it received a recommendation from the Parks and Recreation Commission. Steele had the city listed as a sponsor on the marathon’s Web site prior to the May meeting. Steele explained at the June 23 commission meeting that the Web site listing was due to a misunderstanding, and the statement has since been removed from the site.

Steele said he planned the marathon to be part of a weekend event that would begin on Dec. 3 with a sports and fitness expo. The actual race would take place on Dec. 5, and include a marathon and half-marathon. Steele and his company, Malibu Marathon LLC, would be responsible for the planning and expenses involved for the event. The city sponsorship would provide Steele with a city staff liaison and assistance in securing the necessary state permits needed for the event, including one to close a portion of Pacific Coast Highway.

Although Steele’s company is for profit, he said he would donate 10 percent to 12.5 percent of the net revenue to five local charities: the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, Heal the Bay, The Wellness Community and the Malibu High School Shark Fund. At the urging of the Parks and Recreation Commission, Steele also agreed to add the city to that list for the purpose of helping to pay for land acquisition for parks. Commissioner Pat Greenwood said she would not support the marathon if that had not been added.

However, Steele said the chance of making a profit on the marathon, which he said he hoped would become an annual event, was not high. Revenue for the event will come from sponsorships and runner entry fees, which are $90. Steele said he would need at least 2,700 runners to break even on the event. But Steele said charities could still make money with runners seeking sponsors, which he said is the way charities make money from similar events.

The commissioners acknowledged some community members might not be thrilled about a portion of the southbound lane of Pacific Coast Highway between Leo Carrillo State Beach and Zuma Beach being closed for the event.

“We deal with a lot of people who have major sense-of-humor failure when it comes to road closures,” Commissioner Dermot Stoker said.

But Stoker said what he called the greater good that could come out of the event was worth the small aggravation of the road closure. He said it would not be as troublesome for people as other road closures because the event would take place in the morning when many people are asleep. Stoker said he was excited that the marathon could turn into a “cash cow” fundraising event for many charities in the city, including the city itself.

According to the biography he submitted to the city, Steele started a successful restaurant delivery business in Los Angeles in 1992. Dianne Burnett, who is co-organizing the event, listed her experience as creating the Eco-Challenge expedition race with her former husband, Mark Burnett. Dianne Burnett wrote that she also assisted Mark Burnett with the creation of the reality television show, “Survivor.”