LAKEWOOD RANCH -- Saturday was a great day for runners.
They could have the taste of victory and try to come in first at the Harvest Hustle 5K, or they could frolic through fruit-flavored colored powder dressed in tutus at a 5K fun run.
About 750 people from across the Tampa Bay area flocked to Premier Sports Campus off State Road 70, for the Flavor Run.
A Tampa-based group has been holding Flavor Runs since fall 2013, and founder and race director John McMahan said he has had requests to bring his entertaining event south of the Sunshine Skyway.
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"We're the only flavored-paint run in the world," McMahan said.
The relaxed atmosphere was enough to bring Christy Clerkin, of the Lakewood Ranch area, to her first 5K.
"I'm so excited," Clerkin said, "and it's the only one with a medal."
Being an untimed event, all of the participants received a medal shaped like a bunch of grapes, as they crossed the finish line.Clerkin entered the race with her two daughters, Sarah, 15, and Stephanie, 17, and her son, Kyle, 6.
"I wanted to get colored," said Kyle, who also ran his first race Saturday.
Sarah, a Braden River High School student, said she, too, was excited about running through the color powder.
"And if you swallow it," she said, "it tastes good."
Sarah and her sister, Stephanie, also a Braden River student, ran a color run this past spring, but said if you got colored cornstarch in your mouth, it tasted like chalk.
Helping out at the event were volunteers from Beyond the Spectrum, a non-profit educational center in Lakewood Ranch for children with autism.
Danielle Shemelia, and her friends, Kelsey Sanchez, Susan Bailey and Chloe Haager, traveled from Tampa to participate in the Delicious Run, as the event promotional material called it.
"We signed up for the Tampa run," Shemelia said, "but it got rained out."
They all ran in the Tampa event last year, "and had so much fun we decided to come to this one," Sanchez said.
Seven-year-old Lynsey Stickrath, came from Oldsmar with her mother, Kelli Stickrath, and grandmother, Ann Stickrath, to join cousin, Terri Fry, of Lakewood Ranch, in the Flavor Run.
"They've got blueberry, orange and grape," said Lynsey, who was anxious to run her first 5K.
Fry, who ran a half-marathon last week, said she wanted to participate because it supports the community.
"And it's something different," she said.
Earlier in the day, about 650 runners supported the community at the Harvest Hustle, but many of them were a little more serious about their sprint to the finish line.
It was a timed 5K, where the runners competed for the fastest time in their age groups.
Coming in first was 25-year-old Michael Lamb, of Bradenton. Lamb ran the 5K course in 16 minutes and 14.0 seconds.
The top female runner was Rachel Chambers, 42, of Venice, coming in 10th overall at a time of 19:06.4.
"I like the course," said Chambers, as she quickly caught her breath.
She said she runs races on a regular basis. And being a dietitian for a hospital in Venice, she said the cause was another incentive for her to register for for the Harvest Hustle.
"I like to see the proceeds going to food banks," Chambers said.
The Rev. Catherine Fluck Price said about $10,000 will be split between All Faiths Food Bank and The Food Bank of Manatee.
Also, about 4,000 pounds of food was collected for the two non-profit social service agencies, Price said.
Price is co-pastor with her husband, the Rev. Steve Price, of Harvest United Methodist Church, which has sponsored the race for the past 16 years.