Throughout the last 16 years, the annual Run Among the Lakes 5K has become a vital source of income for the Windermere Parks and Recreation Department, and every cent goes back into the city’s seven parks.
“We try to put back into the town what we get from the event,” said Donna Steele, chair of the parks and recreation committee.
Last year, the department received nearly $20,000 from the 5K, which was used to help update various areas in the city’s parks.
“It’s how we keep up capital improvements in the parks,” said Steele.
This year, the funds raised from the run will be used at the Windermere Recreation Center to install volleyball courts and a dock for swimming and fishing.
“I look forward to having a good turnout,” Mayor Gary Bruhn said about the upcoming race. “It puts money right back into our accounts to continue expansion and improvements to our parks.”
Nearly 1,000 people are expected to participate in this year’s run.
“I think it’s one of the greatest 5Ks in all of Central Florida,” said Bruhn, who has participated in the run before. “You have such beautiful views as you’re running.”
In addition to the 5K, this year’s run will also include a 10K. Both the 5K and 10K courses meander along unpaved, sandy roads through oak trees along the lakefront, but the 10K course has an added segment along Lake Butler Boulevard.
The Run Among the Lakes had once included a 10K several years ago, but there wasn’t enough interest to continue running it, Bruhn said.
Recently, citizens have voiced their support of including a 10K, so it was added to this year’s run.
“We have the interest, so I think it will be very successful,” Bruhn said.
Every year, the run also features art by a local artist, and this year’s featured artist is Kim Minichiello. who is known for her plein air paintings in watercolor. Her featured art, called “Historic Windermere School House,” will be displayed on posters and this year’s commemorative T-shirts.
The 10k race kicks off at 7:30 a.m. on Saturday, April 1, and the 5K begins at 7:45 a.m. Registration costs $35 until Friday, March 31, and $40 on race day. The cost includes a commemorative T-shirt, a finisher medal and a complimentary breakfast of bagels, chicken biscuits, fruit and bottled water.
A kids run will also be available for children under the age of 10. All children who participate will be awarded finisher ribbons.
To register for the race, go to bit.ly/2n2hYCb.
Contact Brittany Gaines at [email protected]