FPRA Chapter Celebrates Fifth Birthday of Carillon Classic 5K Run & Walk

CarillonClassicHappy5thBirthday2LAKELAND, FL (January 22, 2016) – Bells were ringing as the Dick Pope/Polk County chapter of the Florida Public Relations Association (FPRA) concluded its January professional development meeting with a lively fifth birthday party for its Carillon Classic 5K Run & Walk charity fund raiser.

More than a dozen chapter members who serve or have served on the Carillon Classic committee and/or provided volunteer services at past races orchestrated the party held on January 20 at the Cleveland Heights Golf & Country Club in Lakeland. Sporting colorful party hats, these members rang bells and used party favors to create excitement for the unveiling of a special Carillon Classic birthday cake. An estimated 25 other FPRA members and guests were on hand for the party and enjoyed a piece of birthday cake at its conclusion.

“We are excited to be celebrating the fifth birthday of the Carillon Classic 5K Walk & Run. Since we launched this event five years ago in cooperation with Bok Tower Gardens, it has grown beyond our expectations both in terms of runners and money raised for our designated charity,” said chapter President Marybeth Soderstrom, who chaired the 2015 event and co-chaired the two races prior to that along with Katy Martin. The first event was planned and organized by Jennifer Baker and Danny Kushmer, both past chapter presidents.  This year’s co-chairs are Lauren Lengyel and Kelsey Hull.

Since its inception or birth in 2012, the Carillon Classic has attracted more than 1,600 runners from Florida and many other states and raised in excess of $16,000 for the George W. Harris, Jr. Runaway and Youth Crisis Shelter in Bartow, an initiative of Youth and Family Alternatives. The event also provides funds for FPRA scholarships and professional development activities.

“As the countdown to the 2016 Carillon Classic continues, our committee is working hard to achieve our goals of attracting a record number of runners and corporate sponsors that will enable us to make the largest donations to date to the youth shelter and FPRA scholarships in 2016,” Hull said.

Lengyel said the committee is working closely with Bok Tower Gardens officials to determine the configuration of the 2016 race course, which will be different than the 2015 course because parts of that course will be off limits this year due to work on a $12 million capital improvement project at the attraction. Several alternative courses are being considered with a final decision expected within the next two months, according to Lengyel.

The Carillon Classic is held each spring at Bok Tower Gardens in Lake Wales and features what many consider Florida’s most challenging 5K course, with frequent elevation changes, twists and turns, and a variety of running surfaces including pavement, packed dirt, gravel, grass and mulch. On parts of the course, participants run or walk under a live oak canopy and get a close-up look at long-leaf pine forest, saw palmetto, scrub, sand pine, wire grass and other rare species. Throughout the course, runners enjoy the soothing music from the famed bell tower, for which the landmark is named.

In addition to experiencing one of Florida’s most beautiful and exotic landmarks, all participants will receive a free T-shirt as well as educational and promotional items; enjoy snacks and beverages; and get a free one-day pass to Bok Tower Gardens for themselves and family members. Race day registration begins at 6:30 a.m. and the race starts at 7:30 a.m. sharp.  Awards and certificates will be presented immediately after the race.

This year’s Carillon Classic 5K Walk & Run will be held Saturday, April 30, 2016 at Bok Tower Gardens. Registration is $25. Participants can register by postal mail, online or on race day.

For more information or to register for the 2016 Carillon Classic 5K Run & Walk, please visit the Carillon Classic page on Facebook  https://www.facebook.com/CarillonClassic5kRunWalk>, call 863-838-9762 or e-mail info@fprapolk.org

Contact Ken Nelson, APR
863-307-2207 (cell)

or

Ellen Underwood, APR
561-294-2627

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