MARATHON — Attracted by the Florida Keys’ sunshine, athletic competition and family fun, avid runners and walkers from the U.S., Canada and Europe can sign up for the annual Sombrero Beach Run weekend set for Friday through Sunday, March 3-5.
The increasingly popular outdoor run/walk was conceived to help stamp out hunger. Proceeds from the event, co-sponsored by the Southernmost Runners Club, benefit Keys Area Interdenominational Resources, a Marathon-based nonprofit organization that provides food pantry and emergency services to Keys families in need.
The weekend workout begins Friday, March 3, with a 5-6:30 p.m. kick-off party featuring food, drinks, music and entertainment. The fun takes place at Sombrero Beach at the end of Sombrero Beach Road at mile marker 50. Runners and walkers can pick up registration packets there.
Walkers and runners also can register on-site at 7 a.m. Saturday. The 10k run starts at 8 a.m. and the 5k run/walk begins at 9:15 a.m.
Pre-registration for the 15k Challenge, where runners compete in both the 10k and 5k and are eligible for awards in both categories, is $40 per person or $45 on race day. Students age 18 and under and U.S. military personnel can enter for $15.
For 10k and 5k participants, pre-registration is $30 and race-day cost is $35. Students age 18 and under can enter for $10.
Each of the first 500 pre-registered participants is to receive a custom logo T-shirt and fanny pack.
Race day attractions include music and beachside fun, refreshments, door prizes and a silent auction. Auction fans can bid on Keys resort stays, memberships and admissions to Keys attractions and a coveted single entry into the exclusive Seven Mile Bridge Run in April.
An awards ceremony on the beach follows Saturday’s race with a barbecue, drinks and music. Overall male and female winners of the 10k and 5k runs and the 5k walk are to be recognized, as are first- and second-place male and female finishers in multiple age categories.
Awards typically include resort stays, cash and Florida Keys eco-attractions and watersports experiences.
Sunday afternoon rounds out the family fun weekend with include attractions such as Cornhole two-person team competitions, music, food, beverages and more Keys sunshine.