Malibu Marathon organizer cancels December event

Malibu Marathon LLC’s Glen Steele said he hopes the event can take place by March. The City Council will vote Monday whether to form a committee to decide if a marathon can occur at all.

By Jonathan Friedman/Assistant Editor

With the organizer unable to obtain a permit to close down a portion of Pacific Coast Highway for the event, the Malibu Marathon will not take place on Dec. 5 as originally scheduled. Event organizer Glen Steele said he hopes the race can still take place on another date. At Monday’s City Council meeting, Councilmember Pamela Conley Ulich will propose the creation of an ad-hoc committee to discuss the possibility of a marathon in Malibu.

The California Department of Transportation said it would only grant Steele the permit to close down a portion of Malibu’s main access road if he obtained a partnership with a nonprofit organization (Steele’s Malibu Marathon LLC is a for-profit company) and if he received a resolution from the City Council supporting the event. The council declined to support the race when Steele requested it at its Sept. 13 meeting. Just days after that meeting, CoachArt, the nonprofit group that was partnering with Malibu Marathon LLC, severed ties with the company.

Last week, Steele sent a proposal to several council members on how the city and his company could work together on organizing the marathon. The city could serve as a nonprofit entity, qualifying him for the Caltrans permit. Included in Steele’s proposal was that his company would contribute $15,000 to a fund for building ball fields, 20 percent of the gross revenue from a bike tour marathon event activity would go to the city, 20 percent of the net profits from the entire event would go to charities in Malibu and the city would appoint two members to the Malibu Marathon Board of Directors. Also, the Malibu Marathon financial books would be open to the city.

“This proposal is very preliminary,” Steele said. “This is just the starting point of a negotiation. And we’re open to other possibilities.”

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Conley Ulich said Steele’s proposal was not a good starting point, and didn’t come anywhere close to something she would support. The councilmember said she would only favor an event that greatly benefited the city, since it would inconvenience many residents.

“I wanted to create this committee because I wanted to see if the city could partner with somebody to create a marathon in Malibu that would benefit the whole community,” Conley Ulich said.

The proposed committee would include two council members, city staff members, Steele and Tony Griffin, who had been a co-organizer with Steele until Griffin dropped out. The reason for Griffin parting ways with Steele is disputed by the two.

With the marathon unable to take place on the scheduled date, Steele said he has issued a notice to people who registered for the event, giving them options on what they can do. They can ask for an immediate refund, transfer their payment to a marathon taking place on Dec. 5 in Orange County, wait 30 days to see if a new date is scheduled and then receive a refund if one is not, or simply wait until a new date is scheduled.

Steele said he wants the marathon to take place no more than three months after the originally scheduled date. Steele said to hold the race later would conflict with other marathons around the country. If the marathon were to take place within Steele’s desired timeframe, he said the second edition of the race could take place in December 2005.

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The Malibu Times is the first newspaper in Malibu, serving the community since 1946.

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