Another successful Capt地 Fun Bushwacker 5K Run

 

By Julie B. Connerley

Islander Correspondent

 

The second annual Bushwacker 5K was held Saturday, August 4. A total of 917 runners and walkers, aged 6 to 87, enjoyed the 3.1 mile course that began at the Gulf Breeze Recreation Center, passed over the Bob Sikes Bridge, and finished at the Visitors Information Center. The Capt地 Fun Runners hosted the event.

EVENT HISTORY

1987 marked the inaugural Capt地 Fun 5K run on Pensacola Beach. For ten years, the popular charity run was hosted by the Capt地 Fun Runners and attracted a large following.

In 2000, after a two-year hiatus, Capt地 Fun Runners again organized the race with a new charity, new course, and new name -- the Bushwacker 5K. Last year痴 event raised $3700 for Big Brothers Big Sisters.

展hile the figures are not yet finalized, said Glenn Windham (known to all as Mr. Capt地 Fun), 努e hope to match the amount raised last year.

的t is important, he continued, 鍍hat the Bushwacker 5K develop the strong ties to the running community that we enjoyed for many years as the Capt地 Fun 5K. Each time somebody new runs the race, he tells his friends, and they come and tell their friends, so the event continues to grow. That is our goal.

VOLUNTEERS AND SPONSORS

More than 120 Capt地 Fun Runners and Jubilee Walkers volunteered their time and talents to ensure a successful event. Explained Volunteer Coordinator Rosemary LaPorta, 展e divided volunteers among several committees including: course to chutes, water aid, registration, awards, food, and timers. The volunteers and the sponsors are essential to making this event so successful.

After crossing the finish line, some participants headed for the Bushwacker drink stands, while others made a beeline for the food tables on the deck at Capt地 Fun痴 Beach Club.

Generous food sponsors included two Boardwalk eateries. Papa痴 Pizza donated 50 large pizzas and Hooters gave 400 wings. Krispy Kreme provided 600 donuts and Damiams gave ice cream. Mountains of fresh fruits were supplied by Bruno痴 and Winn Dixie, both located in Gulf Breeze, and Albertson痴 on 9th Avenue.

Walt Graham, a food distributor in Birmingham, makes it a point to participate and help sponsor the annual run. Even if his schedule does not allow him to run, he always sends plenty of packaged cookies, and this year was no different.

TRAGEDY UNITES RUNNERS

Thirteen-year-old Keelan Blake, of Milton, was looking forward to running the Bushwacker 5K. His mom, Julie Blake, had bought him a new pair of running shoes since he complained about his shoes after the Firecracker 5K. His younger brother, Lochlan, 10 had also registered to participate.

Tragically, both boys were involved in an automobile accident recently. Keelan was killed, and his brother Lochlan suffered a broken pelvis and could not bear to come without his older brother.

The running community rallied to support the family and a Band Scholarship Fun at Avalon Middle School has been established in his memory. The Capt地 Fun Runners also plan to present Lochlan with a perseverance medallion for the race he and his brother were to have run together.

NEW ORLEANS REGULARS

The Hash House Harriers (HHH) of New Orleans boasts a membership of 75. At least 20 made it to the 2001 Bushwacker 5K and several claim to have participated every year since it began!

典he New Orleans Track Club, explained HHH Phyllis Punch, 砥sed to sponsor or participate in 54 races a year. The club backed off to about 48 races a year now, just so members could enjoy the Pensacola Beach 5K.

Stephen Erwin, the HHH grand master concurred, 典his run is a hoot. We wouldn稚 miss it for anything.

OFFICIAL CAPT誰 FUN BAND

Main Street Band played before and after the awards ceremony at the Boardwalk band shell. As Capt地 Fun Runner痴 登fficial band of choice Main Street knows how to blend the tempo of their popular dance music to match the average runner痴 mindset.

Mike McCartan, Main Street痴 drummer, and the original founding member, is also a runner. He explained, 鄭fter a 5K run, the body needs to cool down, so we start off with concert music (like Santana), then we start working them up into a frenzy, with our guest drummer, 14-year old Kellen Chestnut. After that, we match the runners stamina by playing dance music for 2-3 hours straight.

Because the Capt地 Fun Runners have a reputation for putting on a good race, and even better party, the annual 5K on the Island is like a family affair. As Mr. Capt地 Fun himself, Glenn Windham, said at the post-race party, 鍍his event is like a run in the park for 1,000 of our friends. Thank you for coming out and supporting us.