6 Events to Kick Off Your New Year

At the beginning of each year we resolve to start a new. We make promises to ourselves that we will eat healthier, spend more time with friends and family and we will exercise more. It's often that last one that kicks us in the butt. However, if you are going to suffer for better health, you don't need to do it alone.

Listed below are six fun filled activities based here in southwest Florida to kick off your New Year. Peruse the list at your leisure. With walking, running (Fun runs to a half marathon), biking (On and off road) and even longboarding there is something for everyone.

1. Mimosa Fun Run - On Jan 1st in Punta Gorda the Foot Landing Running Shoe Store is holding their Annual Mimosa Fun Run. Think you had enough to drink the night before? Nonsense! Meet up at the Foot Landing at 7:15am and take a nice relaxed jog, walk or stroll around the city. The volunteers at the finish will greet you with a delicious Mimosa and a smile. Registration is FREE but arrive early. For more details visit their Facebook Event Page.

2. Resolution Run 5K - On Jan 4th in Venice you can get started on those promises you made a few days before by taking part in the Resolution Run 5K. Organized by the South County Family YMCA, this run starts and ends at Maxine Barritt Park near Sharky's on the Pier Restaurant. The course has beautiful views of the ocean and plenty of snacks to eat afterwards. I attended this race last year (Read the story here) and scored a personal record in part thanks to the January morning cold so dress appropriately. You can register on Active.com.

3. Piggy's Revenge Mountain Bike Race - On Jan 12th in Venice the good people at SCORR (Sarasota County Off Road Riders) will be hosting a Mountain Bike endurance race/ride known as Piggy's Revenge. This race/ride takes place in the T. Mabry Carlton Reserve park where riders can choose their distance: either 20, 40 or 60 miles. Finishers will receive a T-Shirt and they get to enjoy some delicious homemade sausage hot off the grill. You can register on BikeReg.com.

4. The Ringling Bridge Run - On Jan 18th in Sarasota the Wilde Automotive Family is holding their Annual Ringling Bridge Run. This 4 mile race starts at 7:30am at the Van Wezel parking lot. It sends runners over and back across the Ringling Bridge with amazing views of the city. All proceeds go to the Sarasota YMCA. You can register on Active.com.

5. Hands Across the Harbor - On Jan 25th in Punta Gorda the various agencies of Charlotte County assemble to bring you the Hands Across the Harbor run/bike/longboard/walk event. There is something for everyone here. The fun starts at Bayshore Live Oak Park at 6:45am. You can do a 5K walk, an 8K run, a 10 or 20 mile ride and the newest addition is an 8K longboard race. There is a pancake breakfast served by Charlotte County Fire/EMS plus there will be spectacular prizes including two round trip tickets to Key West. For more details check out their website at HandsAcrosstheHarbor.com

6. The Suncoast Half Marathon - On Jan 26th in Lakewood Ranch the Active Suncoast Foundation hosts their popular Suncoast Half Marathon. Arrive a day early and you can enjoy the Health & Fitness Expo held at the Gold Coast Eagle Conference Center. The 13.1 mile race begins at 7am with the start and finish on Lakewood Ranch's picturesque main street. For more info visit ActiveSuncoast.org.

Make 2014 your year to shine. Don't make empty promises to yourself, make promises to run with someone, to ride with someone, to make this year the one that changes the happiness level of your life. Remember that all of these events contribute to some non-profit or charity group that is doing good work. Just by taking part you are helping your community but above all, remember to enjoy your journey.


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