WINTER HAVEN — With beautiful spring weather tempting Central Floridians outdoors this April, the Polk County Sheriff’s Office is encouraging residents to join them for a 5k run this month.
Besides getting the benefit of some good exercise in terrific weather, it comes with the added bonus of being held for a good cause.
Area residents, tourists and snowbirds alike can join the PCSO’s 9th Annual Judd Jog 5K for Charity, named after Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd, who sponsored this event nearly a decade ago to raise funds for the United Way Of Central Florida, which is headquartered in Lakeland.
What is the Judd Jog 5K for Charity?
This year’s 9th annual Judd Jog 5K will be held on Saturday, April 29, and early registration is now open. Just log on to JuddJog and register today. Everyone who registers by Friday, April 14 will receive a t-shirt to wear at this event.
There is a $30 fee to join this event, and all proceeds will benefit the United Way of Central Florida.
“Families and children are welcome, and everyone will receive a medal,” the sheriff’s office noted in a news release. “Winners in different categories will also be awarded.”
What Happens on the Day of the Jog?
The event day check-in and on-site registration starts at 7 a.m. at the PCSO Sheriff’s Operations Center, 1891 Jim Keene Blvd in Winter Haven. The run itself will start at 8 a.m., but if running is not your thing or if it feels too hot out to be moving at a fast pace, don’t sweat it, noted Alicia Manautou, public information officer for PCSO.
“Those who wish to walk are also welcome,” she noted.
The course is paved, and starts close to the front of the Sheriff’s Operation Center. The run will eventually wrap around the Polk Public Safety Complex on Jim Keene Boulevard, then takes, Manautou noted, “a scenic lap around a lake, and finishes in a shady area behind the Polk State College Center for Public Safety.”
The sheriff’s office is planning different fun activities during the run. Sheriff Judd will be on hand, and activities will also include K-9 demonstrations and meet-and-greets with their specialty units.
“We hope to see you there!” the sheriff’s office noted.
What Does the United Way Do?
The United Way of Central Florida operates under the mission of inspiring the Central Florida community to “give, advocate and volunteer by identifying needs and mobilizing vetted resources to create positive, local change,” while their vision is to “unite our community and empower everyone to achieve their full potential.”
The United Way of Central Florida is located at 5605 U.S. Highway 98 in Lakeland, and can be reached by calling 863 648-1500.
Michael Freeman is an Orlando journalist, playwright, and author of the book A Christmas Eve Story. Contact him at Freelineorlando@gmail.com.