Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Dan Moser's Florida Weekly Column: Hitting the tracks around Southwest Florida

March 9, 2011
The air may have stunk at the finish line, but there was nothing else about the 2011 Edison 5K that did. Thanks to a bad batch of mulch spread throughout downtown that smelled more like compost, the odor around the epicenter of this year’s race and other key Edison Pageant festivities was tough to take for some runners and onlookers alike. But that aside, Fort Myers Track Club organizers and volunteers did a great job of making the 33rd running of this highly popular race a success, from preevent registration and packet pick-up to the post-race activities in Centennial Park.

Two more upcoming FMTC events that you’ll want to be part of include one of our area’s longest running races, the 35th Lehigh Acres Spring Fest 4-Miler on March 19. A newcomer, Get Your Rear in Gear 5K , is a fundraiser for the Colon Cancer Coalition held on March 26. For more info on both, you may go to the website.

On April 16, another first-time event, this one with a twist, takes place at FGCU: Skirts On the Run 5K will benefit FGCU’s Tri-Eagles Triathlon Club. Organizers decided to give women participants a three-minute head start — thus the race’s name. Back in the day there was Leggs Mini-Marathon, a run that was initially exclusively for women and held throughout America, including in Fort Myers. Over the years it became co-ed, but like Skirts On the Run, women started a few minutes early. With so much youth involved, this updated version of an old idea should be interesting.

I’ve mentioned the American Lung Association’s annual Fight for Air Stair Climb before but want to remind readers again of one of our area’s most unique fit-friendly fundraising events. The event takes place on Saturday, April 30, in downtown Fort Myers at one of our city’s most beautiful towers, High Point Place. Residents have welcomed the public again and are inviting registered participants to train in the stairwells on Saturday mornings and Wednesday evenings. As of early March there are 25 teams (including nine fire departments) and about 100 climbers. The goal is 45 teams and 300 climbers. Like last year, Fort Myers Fire Department is competing to honor fellow firefighter Anthony LaBruzzo who passed away as a result of lung cancer (most likely a result of his 17 years in the profession; he never smoked). If you’d like to take the 30-story, 541-step challenge, or make a pledge for a team or individual who will be climbing, go to the event website.

Advocacy update

By the time this column is published I’ll be in Washington D.C. attending the National Bike Summit as part of an annual advocacy effort. This year the primary goal is to keep in place federal funding programs that improve bike/ped conditions throughout the country. A major undertaking for host League of American Bicyclists, it will attract more than 750 advocates from across the nation. Two weeks later I’ll be doing the same thing in Tallahassee at Florida Bicycle Association’s Florida Bike Summit, an event that that is just as important to our state. As I’ve written in prior columns, if there was ever a year that bike, pedestrian, trails, and transit were under threat, it’s now. We’ve already witnessed the gutting of key staff and leadership in departments that are critical to community development, trails and others that deal with bike/ped matters and the budget proposed by the governor makes clear that we are facing major setbacks if we don’t make our case to the other elected officials who can help keep us moving forward rather than in the direction our new governor apparently wants the state to retreat toward.

Finally, a half-day, classroom based Cycling Savvy course is being offered on Monday morning, April 3. If you’re interested you can contact me for more details.

Until next time, I’ll look for you on the roads and trails. ¦

— Dan Moser is league cycling instructor/ trainer and program director for Florida Bicycle Association who cycles, runs and walks regularly for transportation, recreation and fitness. He may be contacted at or 334- 6417.

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