PANAMA CITY BEACH — Vacationers and locals are invited to the Spring Break 5K series, which began March 5 and runs noon Wednesdays through the first week in April.
“Last week we had some students from Minnesota and a few locals came out,” said Race Director Amy Mann. “We have great sponsors, and we are gaining momentum to put together a summer series. We think for families we will have an earlier start time. But for this, I had to put myself in the mind set of a spring breaker. We know they’re going to go out late dancing and whatever but a lot really want to get their workout in. It’s something to offer students a new positive option while on vacation.”
All participants receive a 2014 Spring Break 5K T-shirt and prizes are awarded for first, second and third place each week.
“Gayle’s Trails is a nicely paved outdoor course with water station,” Mann said. “But the biggest things are prizes and swag bags.”
Runners receive bags filled with Pineapple Willy’s and Wicked Wheel T-shirts and goodies from Liza’s Kitchen.
“I’m going to try to run all five of them,” said Chef Mike Meek, who owns Liza’s Kitchen with his wife, Cat. “It’s kinda getting to that point now that Liza’s getting older and we want to make sure we instruct her well with healthier habits. And that way we also are around a lot longer and we feel better, have a better attitude.”
The Meeks’ daughter, Liza, turned 8 in October.
“When a mom and daughter come in for breakfast on Saturday, I think that’s going to be Cat and Liza one day,” he said.
A portion of the proceeds from the Spring Break 5K series will benefit Beach Care Services.
“We chose Beach Care Services because they are well connected with the hospitality industry and locals,” Mann said.“Those in the hospitality industry want to run 5Ks, but not on Saturday and early in the morning.”
Meek added, “I was so excited, because we work every Saturday doing brunch, and this was a good opportunity for us. We get done at the end of the day, we’ll all go for a walk around the neighborhood.”
Exercise balances Meek’s love of bacon.
“I can only go so far. I do bacon with eggs, scrambled, in the morning. I don’t use butter, but I do a bacon, egg and cheese wrap. It gets me going in the morning — everything in moderation; you gotta live in life,” he said.
The Meeks also run Liza’s Munchies on the pool deck at The Treasure Island Condo, and teach cooking classes next door to Liza’s on Thomas Drive
“Don’t worry; I still cook with bacon and butter in the classes,” he said. “The healthy lifestyle is outside the classes.”
SPRING BREAK 5K
What: Panama City Beach race series;vacationers and locals are invited to walk or run
When: Noon Wednesdays through April 2; rain or shine
Where: Gayle’s Trails at Frank Brown Park, 16200 Panama City Beach Parkway; rain or shine.
Registration: $20 cash, $25 credit card; or $15 for group of five or more pre-register by calling (850) 890-4775 or visiting Active.com. Register on race day beginning at 10:30 a.m.; enter the Recreational Complex and pass the Aquatic Center and Community Center.
Details or directions: 5KSPringBreak.com.