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Sanibel prepares for 10K Race 4 F.I.S.H.

By Staff | Oct 6, 2011

Things are heating up for the 3rd annual 10K Race 4 F.I.S.H. – with an expected 400 runners getting ready for race day on Oct. 15. Ready to welcome runners are Ed Ridlehooever, far left; along with John Pryor, F.I.S.H. board of directors; returning runners Tim Barrett and Eric Pfeifer; Brenda Harrity, a new 10K runner; F.I.S.H. president Bill Fellows and vice-president Blanaid Colley.

As the sun begins to rise on Sanibel Island, runners will be lining up for the 3rd annual 10K Race 4 F.I.S.H. At 7:30 a.m. Oct. 15, some 400 runners are expected to fill the 10 kilometer circuit around the island that begins and ends at the Sanibel Community House.

“This is our signature event,” said John Pryor, who is a member of the Friends in Service Here board of directors. “It is our largest fundraiser and it keeps growing.”

Inclement weather ended the inaugural race before it began. But last year there were more than 350 “neighbors” running in support of a non-profit organization that is based on the simple principal of “neighbors helping neighbors.”

“It is a great cause,” said returning runner Tim Barrett, who is one of six firefighters on the Sanibel Fire and Rescue team. “It’s encouraging when you run by and people are cheering. It helps keep you going.”

Brenda Harrity, co-owner of Doc Fords, did not expect the response she received from employees when she encouraged them to sign up. Harrity now has 14 members from Doc Ford’s Sanibel and Fort Myers Beach restaurants running in the 10K race.

10K Course

“I just posted a notice to all employees at both locations and within a few days there were 10 people signed up,” said Harrity, who will be running the F.I.S.H. race for the first time. “I’m excited. It’s a good cause.”

The name and concept of F.I.S.H. originated in England, but eventually made its way over to the northeastern United States. Six Sanibel couples — one of which was from Connecticut where there was a similar F.I.S.H. organization — through it would be a good fit on the island.

“The evolution and growth of F.I.S.H. over this past 10 years to meet the needs of Sanibel citizens is a great testimony to the vision of the original founders that we are all truly our sisters’ and brothers’ keepers,” said Judie Zimomra, city manager of Sanibel, in a recent article.

During its 30 years of giving and growing, F.I.S.H. of Sanibel has relied on funding from individual donors, organizations and grants to provide valuable services to islanders and those who visit. As the largest fundraiser for the non-profit organization, the 10K race takes an even larger amount of planning and volunteers to make it a special event.

“It’s challenging enough,” said co-chair of the race planning committee Ed Ridelhoover, about organizing upwards of 100 volunteers and ensuring safety precautions are in place. “It’s exciting, though.”

The Fort Myers Track Club, which puts on approximately 20 races each year, is supporting the 10K Race 4 F.I.S.H. The FMTC often works with many local charitable organizations by providing its technical expertise on high quality races. Members of the FMTC span all ages and running levels, enabling them to choose their preferred distance and terrain.

“The track is fun,” said Barrett. “It breaks up the terrain and offers great views of the island.”

As each runner crosses the finish line, they will receive a medallion with the 10K Race 4 F.I.S.H. logo, which was developed by popular island cartoonist Dave Horton. Like last year, this logo features a bird, raccoon and an alligator all main characters in Horton’s cartoons.

Following the race, there will be an awards ceremony and food provided by Bailey’s General Store, as well as prizes awarded in nearly 100 categories. Aside from winning the race, the biggest winner of the day may be the person taking home a beautiful TAG Heuer Aquaracer watch generously donated by Lily & Co.

To win this exquisite timepiece with all the qualities of a TAG Heuer excellent performance, reliability and precision make a requested $10 donation per raffle ticket. The drawing will be held at 9 a.m. on race day at the Community House.

You don’t have to present to win the winner’s name will be posted at the finish line and later notified by telephone day of the race. All of the proceeds from the raffle will benefit F.I.S.H. of Sanibel.