Annual 10K Race 4 F.I.S.H., new Kids Race accepting registrations in advance of events
Advance registrations are open for an annual event to benefit F.I.S.H. of Sanibel-Captiva.
The 11th annual 10K Race 4 F.I.S.H. will take place on Oct. 26 at 7:30 a.m., with participants starting out and finishing at The Community House on Sanibel. Signups on race day will begin at 6:30 a.m.
The idea for the race was introduced in 2008 by then-F.I.S.H. Board Member Joel Soobitsky, but a severe thunderstorm forced its cancellation. Since the first event in 2009, it has been a success.
Event Chair Ed Ridlehoover noted that the race was F.I.S.H.’s first official fundraiser.
“It benefits F.I.S.H., which of course benefits those in need,” he said.
“This is our 11th year,” Ridlehoover added. “It’s grown every year.”
In 2018, about 480 people participated.
This year, the event will feature a few new elements.
During the 10K, a Kids Race will take place at the Sanibel Community Park. Open to ages 10 and under, the event is free for participants and meant to serve as a fun activity, rather than a competition. All of the participants will receive a ribbon, along with a free cool treat provided by Joey’s Custard.
Nicole McHale, chair of F.I.S.H.’s board of directors and member of the event committee, explained that the Kids Race will be a short race. The youths will probably only go a couple hundred feet.
“If you don’t have the money, we didn’t want that to be a burden for families,” she added.
Measuring 6.2 miles in comparison, the 10K will take runners east on Periwinkle Way, then south on Casa Ybel Road, following it as it turns into West Gulf Drive. They will head north at Tarpon Bay Road and west on Island Inn Road, then turn around. Runners will use the bike path to return to the facility.
McHale noted that one new element this year aims to energize the participants.
“Island Inn Road is a long difficult road,” she said. “There’s going to be music on the course.”
One thing that makes the event unique is the length of the race.
“You can find a lot of 5K races throughout Florida,” McHale said. “There are very few 10K races, so we are one of a handful.”
She added that the city shuts down Periwinkle Way.
“It’s the only time you can run down the center of the street on the island,” McHale said.
Dogs and strollers are prohibited from taking part for safety reasons.
The event has drawn participants from outside of the state, even the country.
“The majority are locals and people in the state of Florida, but we do get people from throughout the country,” she said. “We had two groups last year that were from Britain.”
McHale noted that island businesses will form groups to run, dressed in matching outfits.
“It’s fun to see the community come together that way and stand out,” she said.
Bailey’s General Store, Jerry’s Foods and Billy’s Bikes & Rentals help out by providing a spread of bagels and cream cheese, fruit and such, along with refreshments, for the participants to enjoy.
In prior years, runners received a backpack with goodies.
“Another thing I’m excited about (this year) – we are ordering reusable grocery bags for the participants,” McHale said of one of the other new elements, adding that Bailey’s is donating them.
There will be buckets for runners to donate their bag to F.I.S.H.’s food pantry if they wish.
“We’re trying to move our clients away from plastic and encourage them to use reusable bags,” she said.
In addition, new dry-fit tank T-shirts will be available for the runners.
“We’re going to have new race shirts,” McHale said.
Participants registered by Sept. 15 are guaranteed their size shirt.
A total of 104 awards will be handed out, including female and male overall, masters, grandmasters and senior grandmasters. In addition, the top three placers in 17 different age categories will be awarded.
The Chrono Track B-Tag System is utilized for the scoring and results.
“We’re going to have new awards,” she said. “We’re going to have new ribbons.”
McHale noted that the finisher medallions will have the 10K logo on them.
Each year, a speciality “Hortoon’s” logo is designed for the event.
“He always does such a great job with the logo,” she said of Dave Horton, the creator of Hortoon’s cartoons. “It’s such a great representation of the island and the fun run.”
The sponsorship co-chairs are Diane Cortese and Pete Bender.
More than 100 volunteers assist with the event.
“We would not be able to do this without the volunteers. It takes a huge volunteer force to put this together,” McHale said. “We are eternally grateful to those who come out and help.”
She added that outside of the race, the organization is in need of volunteers.
“We always are in need of volunteers, not just the day of the race, but throughout the year,” McHale said.
Spectators are more than welcome to come out.
“It’s always so helpful to the runners to see people out there encouraging them and cheering them on,” she said. “So we would love to have them.”
On the day of the race, participants and spectators are invited to bring any unexpired and unopened non-perishable food items, paper products and toiletries to donate, which will be accepted by F.I.S.H.
“The summer is the busiest time for us because people are laid off and let go from work, so we go through a lot of food,” McHale said. “So we always need non-perishable items donated.”
The entry fee is $40 before Oct. 21, $45 before Oct. 26 and $50 on race day.
Advance packet pickup will be held on Oct. 25 from 2 to 6 p.m. at Run Florida, at 13101 McGregor Blvd., Suite 1, Fort Myers, or runners can pick up their packets on race day starting at 6:30 a.m.
The community is encouraged to take part in this year’s event in one form or another.
“It gives back to our community. We help people who live, work and visit here,” she said. “We’re the only social service organization on the islands, both for Sanibel and Captiva.”
“This is a very close community and people look out for each other,” McHale added. “I encourage people to come out and help support our neighbors.”
Ridlehoover echoed that.
“F.I.S.H. is one of the major organizations on the island that helps not only the people on the island, but the people that work on the island, and even sometimes folks that are visitors to the island,” he said.
For more information or to register, visit www.fishofsancap.org and click on “Our Events.”
People can also contact F.I.S.H. at 239-472-4775 for additional information.
The Community House is at 2173 Periwinkle Way, Sanibel.