Run the Real Florida
Before Disney World, beach resorts, and golf clubs, Florida was a wild and rugged state, full of scrub, marshes, cypress swamps, pine flatwoods, and oak hammocks. Today, highways take us where we need to go, and our weekends are spent on the golf course or by the pool. We see wildlife at the zoo and trees as they are landscaped at the local shopping center. The real wild Florida still exists, and stays protected and preserved in Florida’s award winning State Parks. The parks feature trails back into time before all of the modern amenities and highlight the natural beauty of Florida’s unique habitats. Another thing the parks feature is opportunity: opportunity to get out of the urban areas, opportunity to get off the pavement, and opportunity to get active and enjoy the scenery.
To take advantage of and encourage these opportunities, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s South District Office, in conjunction with the Florida State Park Service, 3D Racing, Inc. and the Run Shoppe, is sponsoring the Real Florida Run Series. Seven runs, seven parks, and seven new adventures. The runs will take place every Sunday afternoon starting at Lake Manatee State Park on February 10, 2013, and ending on March 24, 2013, at Little Manatee River State Park. Other parks that will host runs in the series are Payne’s Creek Historic State Park, Highlands Hammock State Park, Charlotte Harbor Preserve State Park, Koreshan State Historic Site, and Fakahatchee Strand Preserve State Park. Each event features a 5K run or walk and a 10K run for those who really like a longer stretch of the legs.
Each run will be unique in the type of habitats that the trails pass through, vendors that will be present and activities for the family to enjoy. Each park has camping available, so arrive at the park on Saturday, spend the night and enjoy a different aspect of being in the park. Local Florida based businesses are encouraged to come set up a tent and promote your product or service.
Registration for the races can be done individually, or receive a discount if you register for all seven. Awards will be given out at each race for the top three men and women in each category. For runners who participate in all seven runs of the race series, there will be a Grand Prize awarded to the top three men and top three women over-all. Register at www.active.com and search for the Real Florida Run Series, or register at the Run Shoppe, located at 3512 Del Prado Boulevard, Suite 107, Cape Coral, Florida. For questions regarding the run series please contact Arielle Poulos at 239.344.5686 or Arielle.Poulos@dep.state.fl.us.
The South District supports industry in nine counties in South Florida, including the Florida Keys, by establishing and maintaining partnerships with regional businesses and business development organizations. The best of the coastal landscapes have been set aside for protection in 10 Aquatic Preserves, one of 28 National Estuarine Research Reserves at Rookery Bay, and The Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary. The District also enjoys a variety of scenic waterways, including the portions of the Myakka and Peace Rivers, and the Great Calusa Blueway, and includes portions of Lake Okeechobee. The District is home to Fakahatchee Strand State Park, Big Cypress National Preserve, and portions of Everglades National Park, as well as 25 State Parks. For more information visit: http://www.dep.state.fl.us/south/ and http://www.floridastateparks.org.