If you’ve ever thought about doing an organized race (running or walking), this is your time. And it you’ve never thought about it, why not try one?
In the next five weeks, you’ve got a cornucopia of foot races to choose from locally, from old established events to brand new launches and from morning until night. (Those of you who did last night’s Midpoint Madness got the jump on everyone else – and had one of the most unique and scenic venues to boot.)
Consider your options:
- 5K (3.1 miles for the metrically challenged): There’s one almost every weekend, and two on Thanksgiving (a pre-turkey favorite). A lot of choices, usually to benefit a lot of different worthy causes, and a great entrée into local running and races.
- 10K (6.2 miles): Can be a harder-to-find distance, but you’ve got two choices locally: The venerable River Run on Dec. 5 or a newer Knights of Charity event on Dec. 19.
- Half-marathon (13.1 miles): A longer distance, so training is more important. If you’re ready now, there’s the Naples Half on Nov. 22. If you need more time (or more of a course challenge), consider the River Roots and Ruts Trail Half on Jan. 10… or, for even more time, target the Hooters Half on March 6.
- Marathon: Only one locally right now, and it was last Sunday (sorry).
If this is your first race (whatever the length), there are a host of hints on how to train and prepare for race day itself… so we won’t add to the confusion here. Just remember to show up early and ready to run, and be sure to thank a volunteer (or two) for helping to make the event possible.
A brief aside: Why so many running races right now? That’s easy:
Climate: While this year may be the exception so far, typically the temps and humidity have dropped enough to make running comfortable for most, while the shorter days further limit the heat.
Popularity: A lot more people are willing to tackle a 5K (or longer) than might be up for a lengthy bike ride or a swim/bike/run combo. That means the market is large enough for a race (or two) every weekend without tapping out potential participants.
Logistics: As a rule of thumb, the longer the event (in both distance and time) the more difficult it is to put together. So 5Ks are relatively easy to organize, since they don’t need a lot of length or time to complete, while 10Ks, half marathons and full marathons are progressively more complicated (and, consequently, usually less profitable – important if this is a fund-raiser for some worthy cause).
BikeWalkLee is a community coalition raising public awareness and advocating for complete streets in Lee County—streets that are designed, built, operated and maintained for safe and convenient travel for all users: pedestrians, bicyclists, motorists, and transit riders of all ages and abilities. Information, statistics and background online at www.BikeWalkLee.org.
- Saturday, Nov. 14: Achieva Credit Union’s Coconut Run 5K & Kids Run, part of the weekend’s Coconut Festival in Cape Coral. (3dracinginc.com)
- Sunday, Nov. 22: Naples Fall Classic Half Marathon and 5K. & a.m. start from Sugden Regional Park. (www.napleshalf.com)
- Sunday, Nov. 22: 2nd annual Holiday Hustle 5K Run/Walk, 8 a.m. at Maxine Barritt Park, Venice. All proceeds go to Venice Area Youth Soccer. (3dracinginc.com)
- Thursday, Nov. 26: The 36th annual Turkey Trot kicks off Thanksgiving with its traditional 5K run/walk and more (1-mile fun run, 100-yard Tot Trot). Benefits Golisano Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida. 7:30 a.m. start at Cape Coral Wellness Center, 609 SE 13th Court, Cape Coral. (www.ftmyerstrackclub.com)
- Thursday, Nov. 26: Thanksgiving Day 5K run & walk. Germain Arena, 11000 Everblades Parkway, Estero. 7 a.m. start, benefits San Carlos Park Roller Hockey. (www.eliteevents.org)
- Saturday, Dec. 5: 37th annual River Run, 10K run/2-mile walk. Benefits GiGi’s Playhouse of Fort Myers, starts from Centennial Park in downtown Fort Myers. (www.ftmyerstrackclub.com)
- Sunday, Dec. 6: Everyone Runs 5K fun run, JetBlue Park, Fort Myers. 8 a.m. start. Benefits Boys & Girls Clubs of Lee County. (www.everyonerides.org/run/)
- Saturday, Dec. 19: 3rd annual Knights of Charity 10K, 19680 Cypress View Drive, Fort Myers. Funds raised will go towards the Food for Family Program. (3dracinginc.com)
- Saturday, Dec.19: Santa Stroll 5K run & walk. Sugden Regional Park, 4284 Avalon Drive, Naples. 6 p.m. start. (www.eliteevents.org)
- Saturday, Jan.9: Facial Hair for Cancer Causes 5K run/walk, starts 8 a.m. Tara Woods, 19376 U.S. 41, North Fort Myers. (3dracinginc.com)
- Sunday, Jan. 10: 13th annual River, Roots & Ruts Trail Run, Caloosahatchee Regional Park, Alva. Half marathon and relay starts 8 a.m., 5K fun run 8:15 a.m. (www.ftmyerstrackclub.com)
- Friday, Nov. 27: Skip the leftovers and the shopping and join the Caloosa Riders for their traditional Turkey Leg Century Ride, leaving at 7:30 a.m. from the Publix at Daniels Crossing Shopping Center, 6890 Daniels Parkway, Fort Myers. (www.caloosariders.org)
- Sunday, Nov. 29: Go Girl Cycling Birthday Ride, 9377 Six Mile Cypress Pkwy, #135, Fort Myers. 15-, 30- and 45-mile rides beginning at 7:30 a.m. (www.facebook.com/events/1204733949556538/)
- Sunday, Nov. 29: Fit and Fuel Iron Joe Turkey Ride, Fit and Fuel Café, 813 Vanderbilt Beach Road, Naples. 14-, 30- and 62-mile rides offered, registration 7:30 a.m. (www.naplespathways.org/events.html)
- Friday, Dec. 4: SWFL Critical Mass ride. Join a family friendly slow ride through Fort Myers. Front and rear bike lights required. Grab your helmet, bring all your friends and meet in the open field next to Publix (check online for the start time) at First Street Village, 2160 McGregor Blvd. Fort Myers. (twitter.com/swflcm)
- Sunday, Dec. 6: Everybody Rides, JetBlue Park, Fort Myers. Benefits Boys and Girls Clubs of Lee County. 15-, 30-, 62- and 80-mile rides, SAG support, 7:30 a.m. and 9 a.m. starts. (www.everyonerides.org/ride)
- Saturday, Nov. 21: Duathlon at the Bend, a run-and-row combo at Nathan Benderson Park, Sarasota. (www.regattacentral.com)
- Sunday, Dec. 20: Christmas Sprint Triathlon and Duathlon. Swim/bike/run or run/bike/run – your choice, all at Sugden Regional Park. (www.eliteevents.org)
- Saturday-Sunday, Jan. 9-10: 2016 HITS Naples Triathlon Weekend. Vanderbilt Beach. Full and half Ironman, Olympic, sprint and open triathlons. (http://hitstriathlonseries.com/naples-f/maps)