Dolphins take to the streets
SUN PHOTOS/TOM VAUGHT
Students stretch before a practice run. The first 300 people
who register for the Dolphin Dash 5k and one-mile fun run
on Saturday, Jan. 15 will receive a free shirt.
HOLMES BEACH – They will be running against time and for a healthy lifestyle when runners of all ages compete in the 5k and one-mile races in the Fifth Annual Dolphin Dash at Anna Maria Elementary School (AME) on Saturday, Jan. 15.
The founder of the Dolphin Dash, Rebecca Walter, has taken a fulltime position teaching math at Bayshore High School and continues to oversee the event, but she had to step down from the runners club, that the race spawned for AME students.
Another parent, Lee Ross, took over the runners club, which meets every Wednesday at 8 a.m. behind the school to run laps. This year, Ross set a goal of 1,000 miles run by the students collectively before the Dolphin Dash is held. She also is giving the young runners instruction in the fundamentals of running and a healthy lifestyle.
"Every month we have a different topic," she said recently as students did laps around the playground. "In October, it was stretching, and we covered nutrition in November and form this month."
Meanwhile, Walter is excited about this year's event.
"We have 70 runners pre-registered, and some years we don't get that many up to race day," she said last Saturday. ""It's been great and the weather forecast called for temperatures in the 60s."
Walter said she can't believe it has been five years since she and other parents put together the first Dolphin Dash, but sometimes past participants remind her of how long it has been.
"I run into middle school students who tell me they are still running and plan to compete in this year's run," she said. "It's really wonderful to know that we are making life-long runners."
She said that Island Real Estate has donated 250 nylon backpacks to serve as goodie bags for the runners.
"This might be the year we run out of goodie bags," she said. Last year, they registered 175 runners, which was a record.
Walter added something new this year, an early packet pickup at Holy Cow Ice Cream, 3234 East Bay Drive, Holmes Beach, on Jan. 14, from 5 to 8 p.m.
"You can also register at the packet pickup and pay pre-race entry fees," she said. The cost is $20 per race for adults, $18 for Bradenton Racing Club members and $10 for children under 19 years old who register by Jan. 13 or at the packet pickup. Otherwise the race-day cost is $25 for adults and $15 for children. You can sign up online at http://runnergirl.com/races/dolphindash/dolphindash.html#reg through Jan. 13.
Race day signup starts at 7 a.m. at the school, and the races begin at 8 a.m.