Exercise fits right in with holidays

Herald Health CorrespondentNovember 19, 2013 

No need to tell you that the eating season is on. Holiday festivities, from Thanksgiving to New Year's, will be featuring food everywhere from home-baked cookies that co-workers bring into the office to party buffets.

This year why not add a new tradition amid all that bounty? Exercising for a cause not only helps burn off some of the excess, it also fits right in with the spirit of giving. And there's a little bonus gift for you, too. Exercise dials down the feeling of holiday stress.

Here are charity 5Ks and walks coming up in November and December:

Nov. 23: Harvest Hustle 5K

Like many 5K charity runs, the Harvest Hustle has a long history. This is the 15th annual Harvest Hustle, which benefits the All Faiths Food Bank that collects and distributes foods to non-profit agencies that help the hungry in Sarasota and DeSoto counties.

The Hustle starts and ends at Harvest United Methodist Church, 14305 Covenant Way, Lakewood Ranch, and extends through the neighborhoods of the Lakewood Ranch Country Club. Race start is 8 a.m.

Advance registration is $25; on race day, it's $30. A family rate goes for $60, which covers two adults and all children in the family.

For information or to register, go to www.harvesthustle5K.com.

Nov. 23: Everyday Blessings 5K

The Everyday Blessings run is back for a second year to raise money for its namesake organization. Run or walk the 5K, starting at the Siesta Key Beach Pavilion, 948 Beach Road, Sarasota.

The registration fee is $35 and benefits Everyday Blessings Inc., which provides residential care and other services for abused and neglected children who have been removed from their homes and are waiting for permanent placement.

Registration starts at 7:30 a.m. with the race kick-off at 9 a.m. For information and online registration, go to www.everydayblessingsinc.org.

Nov. 28: Turkey Trot 5 Miler

Registration for the 16th annual event closes at 7:45 a.m., and the race starts at 8 a.m. at De Soto National Memorial.

There is no registration fee, but a $1 donation per runner is requested to help defer costs of portable restrooms and police support. All remaining funds will be donated to Meals on Wheels. Cash and food donations to Meals on Wheels will also be accepted.

Registration information at http://bradentonrunnersclub.com/

Nov. 28: Turkey Trot

You're likely to be in lots of company when you join this Thanksgiving Day 5K. Last year, the Trot attracted more than 850 people. The race starts at 8 a.m. at the Hyatt Regency, 1000 Boulevard of the Arts, Sarasota, with the route extending over the John Ringling Causeway Bridge and ending back at the Hyatt.

Registration fee is $30 before Nov. 24 and $35 on race day. The Turkey Trot cause is ALSO Youth, an organization in Sarasota created in 1992 to provide support and educational programs for young people who are gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and straight. For more information about ALSO Youth and online registration for the Turkey Trot, visit www.alsoyouth.org.

Dec. 7: Achieva Reindeer Trot

Sponsored by the Achieva Credit Union, the Reindeer Trot has an extra feature: In addition to a 5K or 10K, there's a Dog Walk, where you and your pooch can strut along. The Reindeer Trot is being held at Payne Park, 2050 Adams Lane, Sarasota, with races starting at 8:30 a.m.

The race benefits local classrooms. Registration fees are $40 for the 10K and $25 for the 5K. Children under 17 can enter either race for $10. And canine-owner teams get their own special rate: $10 for the Dog Walk. Online registration is at www.achievacu.com.

Dec. 7: 16th Annual Jingle & Jog

Another longstanding holiday tradition and bells-on-their-toes event, the Jingle & Jog benefits the Community Haven for Adults and Children with Disabilities in Sarasota. Runners and walkers will get bells for their shoelaces that jingle during the 5K race and 1-mile walk.

The race starts at 8 a.m. at Community Haven, 4405 DeSoto Road, Sarasota. Register online at www.communityhaven.org, where there is also a mail-in registration form. Registration free is $35.

Dec. 13: Jingle Bell Walk/Run for Arthritis

Billed as a premier themed race, the Jingle Bell encourages runners and walkers to show holiday spirit through what they wear. There will be bells to attach to shoelaces and race-goers often show up in reindeer antlers and Santa beards. On its website, the Arthritis Foundation has photos of people dressed as gift boxes and holiday cookies.

The 5K begins at Old Main Street, 12th Street West, in Bradenton at 7 p.m. and the 1-mile walk starts at 7:10 p.m. Pre-race registration through Dec. 7 is $15 for kids 12 and under, and $30 for adults. Race day registration is $20 for children and $40 for adults.

The Jingle Bell benefits the Arthritis Foundation. Go to www.arthritis.org/jingle-bell-run for information and registration.

Dec. 20: Jingle 5K Run/Walk at Lakewood Ranch

Benefiting the Lakewood Ranch Medical Center's Children's Pediatrics Unit, the Jingle 5K has a little something for everyone. Walk or run the 5K, starting at 7 p.m., or join the 1-mile holiday walk at 7:10 p.m. There are Santa Dashes for the kids at 6 p.m. with dash distances set according to age: 100 meters for three- and four-year-olds; 200 meters for ages 5 and 6; 400 meters for the 7 to 9s; and 800 for ages 10 to 12.

The Jingle starts at the Lakewood Ranch Medical Center, 8330 Lakewood Ranch Blvd., Lakewood Ranch. Fees for the 5K and walk: $30 through Dec. 14 and $35 after Dec. 14; Santa Dashes are $10. Registration closes Dec. 18.

Register online at www.active.com, or on race day, starting at 4 p.m. in the Health Parkway Lakewood Ranch Medical Center parking lot.

Susan Hemmingway, Herald health correspondent, can be reached at shemmingway@hotmail.com.

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