Thursday, January 17, 2019

The right time to go for a run

BikeWalkLee Column
The News-Press, January 17, 2019
by Ken Gooderham

If you’re a runner in Southwest Florida, this is your time to shine.

Not only is the weather at its most runnable – cool but not cold, lower humidity but plenty of sunshine – but you have a ton of events to choose from (if that’s your thing). And if organized runs leave you cold, your opportunities to get in a run is limited mainly by how late you sleep or how early the sun goes down (and even that’s not a deal breaker for those who are happy with their headlights).

However, if you want a target to motivate you, there’s nothing like an event on the not-too-distant horizon to help inspire you to get your miles in. If so, you’re in luck – there’s at least one running event (and usually a lot more) every weekend from now to early March:
  • Saturday, Jan. 19: Run to Home Base 5K Run/Walk, 1 Mile Walk & Kids' Dash, JetBlue Park, Fort Myers
  • Sunday, Jan. 20: Naples Daily News Half Marathon, Naples
  • Saturday, Jan. 26: Calusa BUG Chase 5K run/1K walk, Calusa Nature Center, Fort Myers; Run for the Paws 5K, Civil Air Patrol, Naples; 2019 Hancock Creek Elementary Snowflake Shuffle 5K, Cape Coral
  • Sunday, Jan. 27: Hands Across the Harbor half marathon & 5K, Port Charlotte
  • Saturday, Feb. 2: Strides for Education 5K run/walk, Fort Myers; Inaugural Running Water 5K, Cape Coral
  • Sunday, Feb. 3: Publix Run to the Arts 5K run/walk, downtown Fort Myers
  • Saturday, Feb. 9: Scout Strong 5K run/walk, Naples; Rotary's Run for the Rose Garden 5K, Cape Coral
  • Sunday, Feb. 10: Edison Junior Races, downtown Fort Myers
  • Saturday, Feb. 16: Edison 5K run/walk, downtown Fort Myers
  • Sunday, Feb.17: Paradise Coast half marathon &5K, Naples
  • Saturday, Feb. 23: Swamp Stomp 5K run/walk, Labelle
  • Saturday, Feb.23: Naples High School Golden Eagle Run, Naples; Run the Lakes for Cypress Lake Middle 5K, Lakes Park, Fort Myers
  • Saturday, March 2: City of Palms half marathon & 5K, Fort Myers
  • Sunday, March 3: Lazy Flamingo half marathon and relay, Fort Myers (
  • Saturday, March 9: Yo Taco Shrimp Run 5K, Fort Myers Beach (
What if you’re new to running, or seeking to get back into it after some time off? There a plenty of ways to get up and get out there, but you need to ask yourself what will work best for you? Like technology? Go for apps. Need company to spur you on? Look for a club.

Once you decide the best approach for you, there are plenty of choices in each:
  • Apps: Just Google “running apps” to be overwhelmed by the choices for both beginners and experienced runners. If you don’t run with your phone, you’ll need some other way to track your progress – such as a GPS-enable watch that can coordinate with an app or work on its own.
  • Programs: A more old-school approach that’s got a lot of history (and successes), you’ll find a variety of distances, schedules and timeframes to choose from. Pick your goals and go!
  • Running clubs: Both Fort Myers and Naples can boost long-lived and active running groups: Fort Myers Track Club ( and Gulf Coast Runners ( Both clubs put on events, offer organized runs a few times a week and provide a crucial camaraderie of runners to lift each other up. Check out their website for event calendars and how to join… because it takes members to make clubs work, so if you want to join the fun you need to join.
So if running interests you, for the first time or for a long time, enjoy the best time of year in Southwest Florida to enjoy the great outdoors on the run.

Ready to ride or run?

Run?  A lot of choices ahead, from 5Ks (Run to Home Base at JetBlue Park and Tour de Cape on Jan. 19; Calusa BUG at the Calusa Nature Center, Run for the Paws in Naples and the Snowflake Shuffle in Cape Coral Jan. 26 and Hands Across the Harbor 5K Jan. 27) to half-marathons (Naples Daily News Half Jan. 20 and Hands Across the Harbor Half Jan. 27). Details at,, and respectively.

Ride? Tour de Cape rolls back onto the streets of Cape Coral this Sunday, with 15-, 30-, 62- and 100-mile routes to choose from ( Of course, there’s a plethora of Critical Mass rides – NE Lee on Friday, Cape Coral on Jan. 25 and the Saturday Slow Roll in Fort Myers Jan. 26 ( Not enough? Then throw in the Wakey, Wakey! Sunday morning rides (helmets are required, no ear buds, and no aero bar use while in the group).

Both? Upcoming events include:


Have a favorite route you like to bike, or a unique walk you’d like to share with others? Tell us about it at, and maybe we can feature it in an upcoming column.

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Ken Gooderham writes this on behalf of BikeWalkLee, 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 


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