Mount Dora Half Marathon
21 December 2019
Come to the quaint town of Mount Dora for a run filled with tree lined vistas of waterfront neighborhoods and lake hugging roadways. Catch the rising sun through the gracefully swaying Spanish moss and watch the breeze dapple the lakes surface with flashes of sunlight. Filled with gently rolling hills, historic early 1900s-era homes and long stretches along the shoreline of two of the many lakes here in this small central Florida town, the Mount Dora Half Marathon & 5K also features a one-mile fun run for kids. While previous years’ races also have featured a full marathon, in recent years the 26.2-mile race has been dropped in favor of the half marathon and 5K, which both follow an out-and-back course that starts and finishes at Elizabeth Evans Park on South Donnelly Street, along the eastern edge of Lake Dora and overlooking the boat docks there.
An out-and-back course that starts and finishes at Elizabeth Evans Park on South Donnelly Street, along the eastern edge of Lake Dora and overlooking the boat docks there. From the park, runners head north along Donnelly Street and then east along 5th Avenue, which takes them through the city center where the stately Mount Dora City Hall stands just a few blocks from the Mount Dora History Museum, which gets its name (it used to be called the Royellou Museum) from this small city’s original name back in the 1870s and 1880s, when it was named “Royellou” by its postmaster Ross Tremain (for his children — Roy, Ella and Louis). About 10 years after its founding, Mount Dora took on the name it is known by today. After the stretch through the center of town, runners then head out on a long, counter-clockwise loop around this city of just over 12,500, which lies less than an hour’s drive from Orlando and the Walt Disney World and Universal Studios resorts. Runners head generally east to west along Highland Street, Limit Avenue, Old Eustis Road, Hilltop Drive, Overlook Road, Morningside Drive and Lakeshore Drive until they reach the turnaround point, between mile markers 10 and 11. The next stretch, starting the last few miles of the half marathon, features some of its most scenic terrain as runners make their way east along the northern edge of Lake Dora, where the sunlight will be dappling off the water, organizers say. They’ll follow Lakeshore Drive as it becomes Old U.S. Highway 441, all the way back into town and south on Donnelly Street, and then back to Elizabeth Evans Park for the race finish.
Runners will also get to see many historic, old Florida homes here in this quaint town, with Spanish moss draped across the limbs of the trees that hang over the roads. While you’re in town, you might also want to catch the Mount Dora Ghost Walk, an hour-and-a-half-long lantern-guided nighttime walking tour of the city, on which local actors bring Mount Dora’s long-deceased and spooky spirits to “life.”