FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Karen Rhodenizer
Director of Corporate Affairs
(352)224-1633, (352)538-7270 cell
Five Points Marathon Scheduled for Sunday
First Gainesville marathon since the late 70’s
(Gainesville, Fla.) The first major marathon to hit Gainesville's streets
since the late 1970’s or early 1980’s, depending on who you ask, starts
this Sunday, February 19 at 7:30 a.m. on Hull Road on UF’s campus. Event
organizers are pleased and surprised at results of pre-registration with
935 people registered for the full or half marathon. Runners and walkers,
while primarily from the Gainesville/Alachua County area, are coming from
32 states. In addition, two people are coming from Canada and one from
Germany for this inaugural event.
"We expect to hit 1,000 by the time the race starts, and we've been told by
the experts that this is great for a firstyear event," Karen Rhodenizer,
director of corporate affairs for LifeSouth, said.
The marathon is spearheaded by the Gainesville Sports Organizing Committee
and LifeSouth Community Blood Centers and is aimed at raising awareness of
the Five Points of Life program. The Five Points of Life are the five
ways you can share life with others through donating blood, apheresis,
marrow, cord blood, and organ and tissue, and is a national program
developed by LifeSouth.
Rhodenizer said that, with 500 or more of the participants coming from this
community, this is an event that is obviously made for Gainesville, "Elite
runners come from all over the world to train in this community and we’ve
been fortunate that some of them have registered for our event. No matter
where you go in town, you see people on the sidewalks running. There is a
market, so to speak, for a first class run here and we’re lucky to be a
part of it."
To ensure the safety of all participants and volunteers on the race course,
staff from the UF&Shands Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine Institute have
organized professional, volunteer, thorough medical coverage for the event.
At eight tents along the course, staff will be prepared to handle potential
situations such as runner injuries or heat stress. In addition they have
communications plans with emergency medical staff to ensure swift response.
The Expo at the host hotel, the Hilton University of Florida Conference
Center Gainesville, on Saturday, February 17 from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. is open
to the public. Exhibitors include Lloyd Clarks, Run Florida, Dig Me Sports,
CBS 4, LifeQuest, Southeast Tissue Alliance, LifeSouth, Shands Rehab, and
the Florida Track Club.
Onsite registration is available from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. during the packet
pickup and on Sunday morning from 5 a.m. to 7 a.m.
Everyone is encouraged to participate in this event, even if they're not
running, walking or volunteering. "One of the best things our community can
do is cheer these folks on at the starting line, on the race course or as
they complete their full or half marathon. There are 85 people registered
for their first marathon and 322 registered for their first half marathon.
It’s an incredible accomplishment to finish an endurance event like this
and it’s fun to watch people’s emotions as they cross the finish line,"
Participants run the full range of athletic abilities. Some plan to
complete the entire 26.2 miles in as little as 2 hours and 18 minutes,
while others expect it to take three hours to walk the half marathon.
A number of sponsors have donated funds, food and services for the event,
are exhibiting at the pre-event Expo, or have sponsored mile markers and
water stops along the course route. Sponsors include North Florida Regional
Medical Center, CBS 4, Chiron Blood Testing, SunTrust, Gator Dominoes,
UF&Shands Sports Medicine and Orthopaedic Institute, Asterisk
Communications, the Hilton University of Florida Conference Center
Gainesville, the City of Gainesville, the Alachua County Visitors and
Convention Bureau, UF&Shands, Progress Energy, Scarborough Insurance,
Verizon Wireless, Gainesville Health & Fitness, LifeQuest Organ Recovery
Services, CH2MHill, Millenium Bank, James Moore & Company, Sun Country
Gymnastics, and Crime Prevention Security Systems.
The marathon is coordinated by the Gainesville Sports Organizing Committee
and LifeSouth Community Blood Centers. It is partially supported through
funds derived from hotel/motel taxes generated by area visitors and by the
Alachua County Visitors and Convention Bureau, and is co-sponsored by the
City of Gainesville.
For more information visit LifeSouth's web site at www.lifesouth.org