5K Run/Walks put boots on the ground for charity


The Color Me Healthy 5K Run/Walk last year has inspired a network of mutual-support runs for Viera/Suntree charities to be announced at this year's event Saturday, Jan. 7 at Jack Mahon Park on Spyglass Hill Road in Suntree.

photo by bob parente

When Viera resident Gerard “Gerry” Fahey's feet hit the ground alongside those of his fellow runners, charitable donations go up.

Little did Suntree resident Jill Blue-Gaines know when she launched the Bluewater Foundation with the inaugural Color Me Healthy 5K Run/Walk last year that she would be engaging an army of runners to support various causes in line with the Bluewater mission to help children and animals but by totally separate charities centered in the Viera/Suntree area.

Local runs began helping one another out to build their runner base. From the massive Christmas Fit-Mas 3K Dec. 11 to support youth sports programs in Viera/Suntree, the sold-out Run Run Santa Dec. 24 to support Calvary Chapel Viera’s teen mission program, to the Superhero Run Feb. 4 to help children through the Guardian Ad Litem program, the Manatee Elementary Thinga-Ma-Jogger 5K March 4 to support the school, and the Brianna Marie Foundation 5K March 11 to fund fetal surgery advancements, the growing list of mutually supportive running events has expounded on the good done by charity-minded health seekers, and that's just the first quarter.

“I have always loved 5K runs and I knew that each of them benefited important causes. Runners donate with their feet each time they pick an event to participate in,” Blue-Gaines said. “But what I couldn't imagine was how we could form a partnership of mutual support with other charities that could amplify tenfold what we can accomplish by engaging one another's runners on additional events.”

Fahey is a perfect example of health-minded charity in action. At 73, running 5Ks is a way to give back to the sport that gave him back his life.

“Doctors told me I was going to die, and that inspired me to turn my life around, and now I encourage others to get moving,” Fahey said. “You are never too old to be in the best health possible.”

The inaugural Bluewater runner was the first to sign up for this year's race. His goal is to run 2,000 5Ks. This will be No. 1,981. Do the math, and at the average $25 donation it adds up to a lot of giving, and many runners average a race per week or month.

This year, Bluewater's Color Me Healthy 5K benefits the YMCA scholarship fund for children who could not otherwise afford a health club or swim membership.

The second annual Color Me Healthy 5K Run/Walk at 8 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 7, sponsored by Viera Voice, promises to be an even more motivating way to start off the year on the right foot. Runners and the public will get a free chance for the grand prize drawing of an hour-long helicopter ride for three persons over Viera/Suntree and from the St. Johns River to the beaches. 

The Jan. 7 event is hosted by venue sponsor Suntree Homeowners Association at its Jack Mahon Park for the start, finish and festivities. The run/walk traverses plush neighborhoods along Spyglass Hill Road.

Best-selling children's author Jaimie Engle ― writing coach for Quest and Suntree elementary schools ― and retired Suntree Elementary gifted teacher Kitt Kane will headline the Charlie Corbeil Conservation Awards children's writing contest exhibit, inspiring young authors to plan their submissions for the contest, which includes art and photography. The children's awards ceremony will be April 22 at the Viera Wetlands Festival and The Charlie Awards, as they are known in conservation circles, will be April 14 at the Heritage Isle Ballroom adjacent to the wetlands.

Corbeil's widow and Viera Voice nature columnist Charlotte Corbeil will oversee the arts section, giving youth ideas for their submissions. She sponsors the cash prizes for the contest of $100, $50 and $25 in each of the many age and media categories. 

Award-winning nature photographer and Florida Master Naturalist Ivan Green will oversee nature photography instruction, and sign up students ages 5 to 18 for the free Feb. 18 special tour of Viera Wetlands to provide inspiration for submissions.

To register for the Color Me Healthy 5K Run/Walk or other local 5K runs, go to the registration page or call 321-242-1235. 

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