MANATEE -- Two popular spots in Manatee County are the big winners of proceeds from an annual 5K race, organized by the owners of Fit2Run.
During today’s County Commission meeting, Bill and Parks Robinson presented almost $10,000 to the county for the Robinson Preserve and the Palma Sola Botanical Park.
The money comes from the proceeds of the Robinson Preserve Twilight 5K race held in March. The pair presented county commissioners with two checks of $4,761, one for the preserve, the other for the botanical park.
Parks Robinson, general manager for Fit2Run, said that he wanted to donate the proceeds so that the public can “enjoy their healthy pursuits at these wonderful park venues.” It was the mission behind the run since its inception.
This year’s run was the third of what promises to be many more races to come. Robinson said it takes more than four months to plan the run and other festivities. And they have been successful, based on the number of participants: So far the number of racers have doubled each year. The inaugural run three years ago attracted just 400 runners on the 3-mile loop through the preserve.
This year, the Robinson Preserve 5K run attracted more than 1,500 participants, double the number of racers last year.
A group of eight volunteers develop the annual races and the festivities that go along with them. This year’s festivities included a post-race party featuring food from Ezra Cafe.
Robinson said the race is designed to get people running but also to raise money for the park. He said it is his favorite place to run.
“Most of out concentration is on this race,” he said. “It is important to me and my dad to give money back to the county.”
As for giving specifically to Robinson Preserve, “we want it to grow and get better,” he said.