Ronnie’s Run was started by the mother of Ronnie Scrimo in an effort to bring awareness to drug and alcohol abuse. Ronnie passed away in December of 2014.
Communication from the race director beforehand was good, I received one email prior to race day outlining what to expect in regards to parking and admission into Ft. DeSoto Park, packet pickup, and other relevant information.
Packet pickup was easy. There were three locations offered in advance, two in Saint Pete and one in Gibsonton, as well as race day pickup. They probably could have had a pickup at the Fit2Run in Tampa for the people for whom the other locations weren’t convenient, but I know that this isn’t always possible. Pickup included your bib number, tee (a black, dri-fit shirt), and some other goodies. Racers all receive a free #run4Ronnie headband for signing up as well.
Parking at Ft. DeSoto is plentiful. The park was made for visitors, so there really is no issue for parking there.
The location can be tricky if you’ve never been to Ft. DeSoto. Most races run on North Beach, which is far back into the park and can be hard to find in the dark. My advice? Follow the other cars.
There were no potties at the start line, but here were public restrooms on site near Ft. DeSoto’s shelter 1 and shelter 2. The lines were long as there are only 2 stalls in the female restroom, so get there early if using the potty is a must for you.
For those of you interested in race tracking, this year free race tracking was provided via RaceJoy.
There are 3 distances for this race: 1-mile, 5K, and 10-miler. I did both the 1-mile and the 5K. The one mile is just a run straight down the parking lot and back to the start line. Yes, medals are given for the 1-mile race.
The start line for the 5K race is in the parking lot of North Beach and as you run, you go on a nice tour of the Arrowhead area of the park. The course is all paved roads, no sand. You get some good views of the water along the way and there are aid stations as you go through. TAKE THE DRINK because the course is not fully shaded and it gets hot here in Florida. Sunscreen is your friend.
Photos are free in this race and are all uploaded to Facebook afterwards. The race photographers are at the start/finish and along the course once during the 5k. They actually got a pretty great shot (if I may say so myself ?).
The finish line was complete with water, chocolate milk, a hot breakfast, and Krispy Kreme donuts. They also held raffles for beach cruisers, which I was not able to stick around for.
Proceeds from this race goes to Lighthouse Ministries, a group that works with the at-risk and homeless population here in Florida. I spoke with some wonderful women while waiting in line at the restroom who shared stories about their struggle, triumph, and consistent fight against addiction.
I would absolutely do this run again– great goodies, a good course, and a wonderful cause.