Chopper ride is 5K fest’s prize


Gerard Fahey, third from the left, is one of many boomers and seniors to start off the New Year on the right foot at the 2016 Color Me Healthy 5K Run/Walk set for Saturday, Jan. 7, 2017 at Jack Mahon Park in Suntree. Runners will traverse upscale, lush-landscaped home communities and the Viera Medical Mile on Spyglass Hill Road, with private access to waterfront wildlife preserves.

photo by cory davis

Gerard Fahey is a man on a mission. He’s out to top the 2,000 mark in 5K runs. He ran last year’s inaugural event and was the first to register for the second annual Color Me Healthy 5K Run/Walk Saturday, Jan. 7 in Viera. 

The run is the first on the county’s calendar of races and promises to be an even more motivating way to start off the year on the right foot. The event grand prize is a 30-minute helicopter ride for three people over Viera/Suntree and from the St. Johns River to the beaches and back.

“I was told I was not long for this world, and I turned over a new leaf,” said Fahey, who runs 10 to 15 miles a week. “I want everyone to know what is possible for good health at any age.”

Hosted by Senior Life sister newsaper Viera Voice, the 8 a.m. event is a benefit for the Bluewater Foundation, which counts bettering the lives of children high on its mission priorities. The foundation will partner with the Suntree YMCA to provide health club memberships to children in low-income families near that club and at the Cocoa and Titusville Y’s, and raise awareness of the capital campaign underway to build the Viera YMCA.

More than 300 runners started and ended at Jack Mahon Park last year, traversing Spyglass Hill Road through Suntree and Viera, cutting in and out of partnering neighborhoods, trading high-fives with Suntree residents helping with traffic control, and accessing private roads in Viera with views of nature preserves, waterfront and wildlife.

“It’s an absolutely gorgeous course. Everything runners could want, and lots of fun, free entertainment for family members and friends rooting them on,” said Running Zone’s Don Piercy, who mapped out the course last year that has drawn raves from runners.

More than 1,000 people took part in the festivities, including runners and families, volunteers, attraction providers, sponsors and exhibitors. It was a win for the Suntree Master Homeowners Association, location sponsor of the event.

“We were looking for a 5K event that residents could really claim as their own and feel part of as we benefit the community together in the north part of the community,” said Kaye McKinney, SMHA community relations director. “We are still hearing great things from homeowners and they can’t wait for it to come around again.”

It was the right time to pick children as beneficiaries through the YMCA , said the event organizer.

“There has never been a more important time to give children healthy physical activities to cut back on playing video games and other sedentary electronics,” said Senior Life and Viera Voice publisher Jill Blue-Gaines, founder and board president of Bluewater Foundation. She is a boomer raising a 11-year-old son.

“It’s hard enough when you are a parent with means, but for children whose families need assistance, it takes a community.”

Free festival activities for children and families run through 11 a.m. and are open to the public. All attendees get a ticket for the chopper ride drawing. 

Come meet Color Me Healthy 5K Run/Walk health ambassador Gerard "Gerry" Fahey at the event Saturday, Jan. 7 from 7 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. and find out why you should make regular walking and perhaps even running a part of your routine to be the best you can be at any age.

About Gerard Fahey, 73 — VIERA

Favorite workout activity 
Running. I have been running for 42 years and have run 1,974 races. I run three nights a week and do a race on the weekends. I also bike and do Zumba.

Running saved my life! First, I lost 57 pounds. Second, when I was admitted to the hospital and later rehab, the doctor said if I hadn’t been so fit, I wouldn’t have made it. I also love the camaraderie of running. My body craves exercise more than food. 

I take multivitamins and probiotics. I eat a big breakfast and eat fruits and vegetables and also drink a lot of water. I also limit my sugar and salt intake. The only treat I have is Perkins pie once a week.

For more information on sponsoring the event or providing an attraction, call 321-242-1235. To register, go to Color Me Healthy 5K 2017.

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