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Support fallen officers and their families by registering for Cape Cops 5K

By Staff | May 2, 2019

An event, which has been held in Cape Coral for 13 years, continues to bring the community and police officers together for a morning of fitness, 3.1 miles around the Cape Coral Yacht Club, during the Cape Cops 5K.

Evidence detection specialist officer and event organizer Mark Amato, who took over the event this year, is a triathlon athlete and avid runner.

“I belong to a whole bunch of running clubs and tri-clubs, so I know what people want in a race,” he said. “I’ve been to great races, and not- so-good races. I want to give everyone a fantastic event.”

Cape Cops 5K will be held at 7:30 a.m. Saturday, May 18, at the Cape Coral Yacht Club, 5819 Driftwood Parkway. Registration is $15 for 18 years old and younger before May 17, and $25 for adults on or before May 17. Registration can be done by visiting www.ftmyerstrackclub.com.

It is $35 on race day with registration beginning at 6:30 a.m.

“The premise is solely based on raising money for fallen officers and their families and trying to support a lot of community programs that we do for the Cape Coral Police Department,” said Amato, adding programs includes the Shop with a Cop program and Do the Right Thing. “Do the Right Thing happens all the time and promotes kids being great citizens and doing the right thing in life and making those hard choices.”

The majority of the proceeds goes to fallen officers and the families of those fallen officers.

“That is the core of why specifically this race is in the month of May. It coincides with National Police week. We try to use that as the essence and presence of the impact of what it is,” Amato said of the race.

The 5K race will wind through the neighborhoods surrounding the Cape Coral Yacht Club. The race is an entirely closed course, which allows runners and walkers not having to worry about traffic or oncoming vehicles.

“Police officers are on the scene in the course to provide everybody with a safe event,” Amato said. “Certain streets we will be able to shut everything down. Everything else will be coordinated and monitored.”

Participants will receive a finishers medal, as well as a drawstring bag and a race T-shirt.

After the race there will be a DJ, a photo booth, age group and overall awards provided, as well as onsite demonstrations from the K9 unit, SWAT and Marine Unit. There also will be a race day photographer providing photographs free of charge. Vendors also will be part of the festivities.

Last year the race attracted 350 participants.

“I’m shooting for the stars and hoping to get 450,” he said, adding that a solid 400 participants would also be absolutely fantastic. “Come out and enjoy the sun and fun of Southwest Florida. Have some fun with the family and interact with the Cape Coral Police Department. It’s for a worthwhile cause. It is a win-win. You can’t go wrong.”

Amato said although the Cape Coral Yacht Club has always been a great race venue, he is looking into moving the venue for next year.

“Next year the goal is to make the race at night. To give the community and the officers a festival to be able to interact,” he said. “That will be next year, a 5K and 10K. I’m trying to provide everyone with a fantastic race experience. I’m laying the foundation of everything I want to do leading up to future events.”

The goal is to turn the Cape Cops 5K into a full run festival, whether it be incorporating the event into two weekends, or one specific weekend with both running and biking.

Down the road, the hope is to bring a half and full marathon back to Cape Coral. Amato said the pulse from the runners and athletes is they absolutely miss one thing, having a local certified course that they can utilize.

“Everyone trains hard and competes all over the world,” he said. “We take baby steps. We get it bigger and better. There is no reason we cannot have the Cape Cops half marathon. It gives everybody the ability to race and have fun and enjoy the fantastic weather we have down here.”

Amato officially began racing in 2009. His last major race was the New York City marathon in November. His training starts June 1 for the Chicago marathon in October.

“The New York City marathon is absolutely incredible. I come from that area. The sights, the sounds, the atmosphere. The people lining up cheering you along the course,” Amato said. “Sometimes it can’t be described.”

He said if the most powerful city in the world can shut down for a couple of hours, why can’t they do the same thing here in Cape Coral.

“It doesn’t have to be on that scale. There is no reason why I cannot bring a hometown race event that everyone can embrace,” Amato said.