I have been an avid marathoner (and sometimes half-marathoner) for close to a decade now, and three-quarters of that time have been spent living in the Jacksonville area of Florida. I recently realized, however, that I have only run in one local race since I moved to the area, and that piqued my interest as to what races were available for area runners. I was surprised to find that, whether you’re a marathoner or 5K runner, there are a number of races to satisfy any running appetite in the Jacksonville area.
26.2 With Donna – Marathon, Half-marathon, and Relay
February 12, 2012 – 6:30 a.m.
The 5th annual 26.2 With Donna National Breast Cancer Marathon is “the only U.S. marathon dedicated solely to raising funds to end breast cancer” with 100% of the proceeds going to breast cancer research. The Marathon, Half-Marathon, and Team Relay will be held on February 12, 2012, beginning at 6:30 a.m. near the Mayo Clinic. There is also a 5K and a 1 mile Family Fun Run, which take place on February 11, beginning at 8:30 and 9:30 a.m., respectively. The course, one of the fastest in the country, is a Boston qualifier. Packet pick-up is at the fitness expo at the Prime Osborn Convention Center. Fees: Marathon — $125; Half-Marathon — $95; Relay (team of 5) — $300. For more information, visit www.breastcancermarathon.com.
Sulzbacher Center 8K
February 18, 2012 – 8:30 a.m.
The Sulzbacher Center 8K is dedicated to helping get “men, women, and children out of homelessness and into homes of their own.” Fees: through February 13 — $30; February 14 through race day — $35; Sleep-in for Sulzbacher, $20 donation; $2 discount for runners using own timing chips. Packet pick-up is at any of the 1st Place Sports locations throughout Jacksonville. For more information and to register, visit: www.1stplacesports.com/sulzbacher.html.
Pirates on the Run 5K/10K
February 18, 2012 – 8:30 a.m.
“One of the most festive running events in North Florida,” participants will be cheered on by Fernandina Pirates Club members in full costume. Race proceeds benefit Amelia Island Runners’ scholarships for Nassau County graduating seniors and St. Peter’s mission trips. The first 500 to register receive a technical t-shirt, and a costume contest for best-dressed running or walking pirate will be held. Fees: $25 per person ($5 discount for Amelia Island Runners members); $2 discount for runners using own timing chips. Packet pick-up at Current Running on February 17, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Race day pick-up will be at St. Peter’s starting at 7 a.m. For more information, or to pre-register, visit: www.ameliaislandrunners.com.
Ortega River Run – 1 mi. Fun Run & 5 mi. Grand Prix Race
February 25, 2012 – 8:00 and 8:30 a.m.
4114 Oxford Ave. in Ortega
A Grand-Prix sanctioned event, the 34th annual Ortega River Run is expected to host over 2,000 participants and is one of the largest Jacksonville area races. A festive street fair lines the course start/finish, located in front of St. Mark’s Episcopal Day School. Fees: 1 mile Fun Run — $18; 5 mile Grand Prix — $25 (through February 17), $30 (February 18-24), $35 (race day). Packets can be picked up at any 1st Place Sports Locations throughout Jacksonville. For more information, or to register, visit: www.stmarksdayschool.org/support/dailys-ortega-river-run.
Be Her Freedom Run – 5 mile/1 mile Fun Run
March 3, 2012 – 8:00 a.m. and 8:15 (respectively)
10302 Deerwood Park Blvd.
The Be Her Freedom Run, sponsored by A21 campaign, is dedicated to help abolish human trafficking. Fees: 5 mile — $25 (through February 24), $30 (February 25-March 2), $35 (race day); 1 mile Fun Run — $15 (through February 24), $20 (February 25-March 2), $25 (race day). Packet pick-up is at any 1st Place Sports location throughout Jacksonville. To register, visit: www.1stplacesports.com/herfreedom.html.
The Gate River Run – 15K
March 10, 2012 – 8:30 a.m.
The 35th annual Gate River Run is the largest 15K in the U.S.; includes a 5K for charity, hosted by the Florida Times-Union, an Adidas Junior River Run, and the JTC Diaper Dash for children ages 1-3; and hosted over 21,000 participants last year. The race start/finish is at Everbank Stadium, home of the Jacksonville Jaguars, and features a course through downtown Jacksonville, over the St. John’s River, through historic San Marco, and finally making the climb over the Hart Bridge, affectionately known as the Green Monster, before the last mile descent to the finish line. The Gate River Run and the 5K charity run start at 8:30 a.m., followed by the Adidas River Run and the Diaper Dash at 11:00 a.m. To register, or for more information, visit: www.gate-riverrun.com. Fees are as follows:
Through February 29 — $35 (15K); $25 (5K)
March 1-7 — $40 (15K); $30 (5K)
At the expo, March 8-9 — $45 (15K); $35 (5K)
13 and under And 65 and over — $25 (15K); $15 (5K)
Adidas Junior River Run and Diaper Dash are free, but child must be pre-registered by midnight March 4.
St. Patty’s Day Run – 10K & 5K
March 18, 2012 – 8 a.m.
4535 Main Street
The St. Patty’s Day Run benefits the Springfield Preservation and Restoration Society and runs through the beautiful Evergreen Cemetery, home to majestic oak and magnolia trees, and is 90% shaded. Fees: $20 (through March 10); $25 (March 11-17); $30 (race day); $2 discount for runners using own timing chip. Children 13 and under and Adults 65+ pay $15 until March 10. To register, or for more information, visit: www.1stplacesports.com/stpattys.html.
Sources: www.breastcancermarathon.com, www.1stplacesports.com, www.ameliaislandrunners.com, www.stmarksdayschool.org, www.gate-riverrun.com