SEMINOLE – Twenty-one years ago, nearly 2,000 runners gathered to race across the 102nd Avenue Bridge when it first opened.
The construction of that roadway connector, which brought together two sides of the community, had been held up for years, said Gretchen Cain-Wells, Seminole Chamber of Commerce’s chief of operations.
“One obstacle after another,” she said. “It seemed like it was never going to open. Then all of a sudden it did and it was a huge. ... That first run was a huge splash.”
That was the unintentional birth of the Seminole Stampede 5K and 1-mile run, now an annual event for serious runners, local families and everyone in between.
The following year, the run moved to Walsingham Park, where about 1,000 participants turned out to commemorate the park’s opening. The event, which attracts about 400 runners annually, is still held there.
This year’s event will take place on Saturday, March 22, with the races beginning at 8 a.m.
The racecourse is certified by the Florida Association of Runners, and also chip-timed, for the more competitive racers. Everett McDowell of Florida Road Race management will be on hand to time the races
This year Chick-fil-A, a longtime sponsor of the event, is stepping up to encourage kids to participate. The fast-food restaurant is challenging schools by awarding the school with the highest number of participants, which can include students, teachers, staff and their families, a Chick-fil-A party. Allen Sports Center will have special T-shirts made for the second-place school.
“It’s to encourage kids to come out and be active,” Wells said.
Runners will get $5 off if they register early. If they register by March 21, the cost is $20 for the 5K race and $10 for the 1-mile run. After that, cost is $25 for the 5K and $15 for the 1-mile race.