Thinga-ma-Jogger 5k returns to Manatee Elementary School


The Thinga-ma-Jogger 5K is a popular running event that honors the memory of Dr. Seuss

Photo By Courtesy of Manatee Elementary School

A fun yearly tradition is set to be renewed at Manatee Elementary in Viera on Feb. 23 as the fifth annual Thinga-ma-Jogger 5K is held.

The walk/run event is held as part of a celebration of the NEA Read Across America program and is held near Dr. Seuss’ birthday of March 2 each year as a celebration of his works.

The race either caps off or starts a week of Dr. Seuss-themed events at the school, according to Nicki Hensley, who serves as co-chair of the 5K and as a parent volunteer. This year, it will begin the festivities.

“We really always have celebrated the author and his amazing use of vocabulary, poetry, humor,’’ Hensley said. “So, we thought, let's do a race around the same time that would celebrate his birthday.’’

The popular event, which Hensley says is also made possible from work by school principal Shannon Daly, fellow parent volunteer Catherine Evans and media specialist Tricia Kuhblank, has attracted an average of about 650 participants in the past four years.

“We don’t cap it (the number of participants allowed) at anything,” said Hensley, who noted that last year’s participants came from outside the community and from places such as Orlando, Tampa and Jacksonville.

Proceeds from the race will benefit the Manatee Elementary School PTO capital fund.

The race course itself both begins and ends at the school Hensley said, with the course essentially being a loop that will take participants on Tavistock Road, Judge Fran Jamieson Way and Breslay Drive before ending back at Manatee.

Packet pickup along with last-minute registration will be held from 6:30 to 7:15 a.m. on the day of the race. The 5K itself begins at 7:30 a.m. and a free children’s run for ages 6 and younger will be held following the conclusion of the 5K.

Those interested in signing up for the race can do so through the Thinga-ma-Jogger 5K’s page at

The fee to register for the race through Feb. 9 is $23 for adults and $15 for children younger than 18. Those numbers increase from Feb. 10 to 22 when adults will have to pay $27 and children $20. On race day, the registration fee will be $30 for adults and $25 for children.

Hensley added that the first 650 finishers will receive a finishing medal to help celebrate the fifth anniversary of the event. Those who register by Feb. 9 also will be guaranteed a free shirt as well, organizers say.

“We’re very excited about the fifth year,” Hensley said. “We can’t believe we made it this far.”

In addition, the school is accepting new or “gently-used books” to be donated as part of a book drive.

Organizers said the book drive will help school libraries in need. Those books, they add, can be donated anytime at the school’s media center or on the morning of the race.