Special thanks

There may not have been walls to erect, but the feeling of “community” and “pride” was written on every face just like at a barn raising on March 20, when more than 600 people participated in the Inaugural Robinson Preserve 5K and 1-mile Fun Run presented by Fit2Run, The Runner’s Superstore.

As part of this history-making event, local dignitaries welcomed the runners (and walkers) to the 497-acre wildlife and nature preserve nestled in a neighborhood in northwest Bradenton. Among them were Bradenton City Council member Marianne Barnebey, who sang the national anthem, and Manatee County Commissioners Joe McClash, Gwen Brown and John Chappie. Sixty-plus volunteers from Saint Stephens School, Fit2Run, and others helped coordinate everything from set up, to parking, registration and clean up, along with the outstanding crew from Manatee County Parks and Recreation Department.

Because this was certainly a celebration, guests were invited to an after party at the Palma Sola Botanical Park, made possible by local food artists ARK Catering (Mark Anderson, proprietor) and EZRA Restaurant, along with beautiful flowers by Orban’s Nursery. Thanks to our other sponsors, Coastal Orthopedic, Cheeney Brothers and Kleppinger Construction.

All those who attended were amazed by the preserve and how truly remarkable the property grounds are. Many commented on how fortunate Manatee County is to have this invaluable asset in our back yard.

This race would not have been possible without the generous support of the Robinson Preserve Race Committee members: Anna Ryskamp-Conn and Josh Conn, Saint Stephens School, David Flanary, disc jockey and master of ceremonies Keith Bettcher, Manatee County Parks and Recreation and Fit2Run.

We’d like to thank all of the dignitaries, guests, participants and volunteers who “erected” this event and helped to make history.

Thank you.

— Parks and Bill Robinson, Bradenton