So yesterday was Global Running Day, and on the heels of that celebration, I’m reflecting back on ArtFest’s Publix Run to the Arts for Throwback Thursday.
In case you didn’t take part in the event (as either a runner or spectator), my painting Flamingo Crossing was chosen as the artwork for ArtFest’s Publix Run to the Arts commemorative T-Shirts. The shirts were given to everyone who ran in the 5K race on the last day of ArtFest Fort Myers, with proceeds from sale of the shirts benefitting ArtFest’s ongoing education and outreach programs throughout the year. I appreciate the opportunity to do my part for these worthy endeavors.
The weather at the start of the race could not have been more ideal. It was cool and foggy, so no one got overheated or suffered from over-exertion. Of course, I did not run in the race. For good or bad, those days are behind me. But the truth is that I’ve never been much of a runner. However, that doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate those who do run, jog, power-walk or just plain ole walk a distance of five kilometers – even when the searing Florida sun is safely shrouded behind a bank of fog. So believe me when I say that everyone who took part in the race, whether they completed the course or not, is a winner in my estimation.
The course started at the intersection of Monroe and Bay Street. I was going to say that the start line was in the shadows of the Harborside Event Center and City of Palms Parking Garage, but since there was no sun, there were no shadows. From there, the participants raced down Bay Street, past the entrance into ArtFest, and down to Lee Street.
At Lee, they hung a left and ran to Edwards Drive, taking a right and running east to the foot of the Edison Bridge. The course took the runners across the Caloosahatchee River to the North Fort Myers side. Then the runners reversed course and raced back to the finish line, which was nestled between D.J. Wilkin’s Florida Panthers sculpture and the west doors into the Harborside Event Center, where a video recorder captured each runner as he or she finished the race.
Before I close, I think another shout-out to the City of Fort Myers Police Department is in order. They blocked off the streets, controlled traffic, and made sure that runners, spectators and affected motorists were safe and minimally inconvenienced. Our police department and officers are unsung heroes. Not here! I insist on recognizing their efforts and contributions. So thank you again.
Events like the Public Run to the Arts don’t work without an army of organizers and volunteers. While my part was restricted to providing the art for the T-Shirts, it was important to me that everyone involved – whether as an organizer, volunteer, participant or spectator – had a safe, fun and uplifting experience. So hats off to everyone who played a role in making the run a success – and that extends to the emcee extraordinaire, Diva Diaries’ Stephanie Davis.