Inaugural Emerald Trail 5K Raises More then $16K

Front Row: Larry Roberts, president of JTC Running presents a ceremonial check to GWJax CEO Kay Ehas.
Back row from left to right: Bonnie Brooks, JTC Running; Amanda Crawford, VyStar Credit Union; Doug Alred, 1st Place Sports; and Brian Wolfburg, VyStar Credit Union CEO.

The Inaugural VyStar Emerald Trail 5K on November 21, drew more than 450 participants, including nearly 100 on bicycles, to downtown for a glimpse of what will become a portion of the 30-mile Emerald Trail. Thanks to JTC Running for underwriting all the race expenses so that $16,452 in race fees came directly to GWJax to support ongoing programs.

It was a perfect running day with light rains holding off until the very end. The event was staged on the expansive lawn of the Duval County Courthouse with cyclists, runners and walkers going off in waves to provide social distancing. The route took the entrants along the northern section of the LaVilla Link then along the S-Line Connector, finishing at Andrew Robinson Elementary School. Open air shuttles were available to bring people back to the courthouse.

Awards were given to top female and male finishers in various age groups, and every finisher received a custom race medal. Congratulations to 17-year-old Kathryn Saunders, the first female finisher with a time of 19:59, and Kevin Curran, 37, the first mail finisher at 18:15.

Thanks to our title sponsor VyStar Credit Union, presenting sponsor JTC Running and Race Director Doug Alred of 1st Place Sports. We would also like to thank our friends at North Florida Bicycle Club and Lakeshore Bicycles for coordinating the bicycle portion of the event. In addition, special thanks to the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens WILD program, Exotico Columbian Coffee Company and Guanabana Ice Pops for coming out to support the event.

Plans are already underway for the 2021 Emerald Trail 5K which will be Oct. 23 or 24. More details to come, but if you are interested in becoming a sponsor, please contact Kay Ehas.