Saturday, November 12, 2022, was a perfect day for a race. Tropical Storm Nicole had departed our region only a little more than a day prior, leaving clear blue skies in her wake. More than 160 runners of all ages, including dogs, waited behind the inflatable Fit2Time arch, hands over hearts as the Sun Outdoors Sarasota Veterans Honor Guard raised our nation's colors. After the darling barbershop quartet "The Flexible Four" had sung the last note of the national anthem and returned their boater hats to their heads, it was time. With a blast of the airhorn, the pack set off on a path few ever get to traverse, their footfalls striking pavement mere feet from the active taxiways of Sarasota Bradenton International Airport (SRQ). In what felt like the blink of an eye, but was actually just under 17 minutes, the first runner, David Proudfoot (who could not be more aptly named) crossed the finish line. The remaining 159 arrived in due time: hot ("that was like running on the surface of the sun," said one), panting, and thirsty, each one newly decorated with a commemorative medal.
As the runners cleared out, in came the families, the strollers, and the pets. More than 73 people took their turn walking or jogging the one-mile abbreviated course. When the last group finished, everyone congregated in vendor village for the awards ceremony, presided over by Meredith Michaels of 107.9 WSRZ's Jones & Company. Nikki Goslin of title sponsor KW Suncoast shared her story of how a little dog named Miracle helped her find her purpose after her military career ended. Then it was time to pass out the trophies and send everyone on their way.
This event was a one-time offering since the course will soon be developed as part of ongoing expansion projects at SRQ. It was a wonderful day, and we truly appreciate all the volunteers, sponsors, participants, vendors, board members, and staff who made it possible!