Running a 5K Through a Blueberry Field!

Time for a new section to be added onto this blog of my life’s adventures. Even though I mainly write about what I do around the NYC area, there are times when I do venture outside it with my fitness and running exploits.  Hence, there will be a new page under the header titled “Running, Fitness, Diet, and Exercise” that will house current and past features relative to this subject.  

Please feel free to venture there now and again to catch up, read, comment, and perhaps even offer some tips and inspiration about your own fitness journey. If applicable, I will feature your post link on this page. Reach out and let me know.

As an avid 5K runner ( never ever thought I’d be saying that! ) I now always look to see if there is an event where I am travelling to. If I have the time I sign up. Such was the occasion recently when I found myself in Kissimmee, FL when visiting parents and doing the family thing.

The Clermont Clay U-Run U-Pick Blueberry 5K race was a quick car ride away from where we were staying so I jumped in. I had a blast running a 5K on the clay roads and through the blueberry fields.

I love blueberries, and could not pass up this event even though I was on vacation. Yes, it was super early in the morning. Yes, it was sunny, warm, and sweaty. Yeah, I’m crazy, but I went to Disney World afterwards! 

When I pulled up to the road to where the 5K race was being held, the wonderful Southern Hill Farms, I immediately hit a traffic jam that was nothing short of a crawl. Ugh, not a way to start out at 6:45AM.  With race time scheduled for 7:30AM I was wondering if I would make it.  We all finally started moving and then had to park.

Oh, then there was the parking.

My only gripe about this event was the parking situation. It seems they really oversold the race, and with over 800 runners participating the parking situation was a mess. Yes, I said over 800 RUNNERS! The staff had little clue as to what to do, and there was really no backup plan or extra space to direct vehicles into. The race had to be started late to accommodate everyone,  but in the end it seems they figured it all out. Pushing back the start time was the right call.

5K runners as far as the eye can see!

Again, over 800 people running a 5K! Whoa!

I was a sunny and hot morning to run. Heck, that’s Florida at end of April for ya. For the most part the roads around the farm were ok, but sections were sandy and uneven, so it really offered a good workout. Just had to pay attention and watch your footing. There were staff placed all around the course and helpful. Terrific finisher medal, nice shirt, blueberry pancake breakfast ( YUM! ), and a pound of delicious u-pick blueberries from the fields afterwards all included. Nice facility to relax in after, and new clean restrooms too.

Hungry runners post-race on line for blueberry pancakes!

Race packet pickup is the day before at a local hotel, or as I did you can get there a bit early to grab your bib and shirt. They use a tag to tie onto your laces to record the run time, but my Strava phone running app also worked fine even out on the open fields with no connectivity problems.

Nice medal earned after a hot & sweaty 5K Florida run.

If ever in the area and have a chance to run this 5K do so. It’s a totally different kind of setting. The views of the blueberry fields are beautiful as are the grounds. Fun race in a very wholesome Americana kind of throwback way. Met some good folks there too. Plus, as a blueberry freak I could not resist doing this. I devoured that pound of fresh blueberries during breakfast for days after.

Overall, I think Sommer Sports did a wonderful job with this event. Parking situation aside it was well run, organized, and their staff on hand were super friendly and helpful. Plenty of cold drinks, water, juice, and food for all participants.  They put on a variety of Florida based running events. Check out their website link below.

Out in the fields picking our blueberries after the race.

Southern Hill Farms is a terrific place to visit. Friendly staff and owners. Store on site and also clean restrooms to use. They even have a kids play area set up, and a rooftop deck to hang out on and enjoy the drinks and snacks they offer. Plenty of picnic bench seating and rocking chairs on the patio. Pick your own blueberries is a cool perk too.

That ice-cold blueberry smoothie was so refreshing!

The store offers for sale many items such as scrubs made with blueberries, lemonades and cold drinks, food items, souvenirs, jams, etc. All made with blueberries of course! Fair prices. I left with a few souvenirs to bring home, and this scrub pictured below for my gal.

All types of items made with blueberries!

My tongue was happily  blue for days after. Would love to visit this place again to run another 5K and indulge my blueberry addiction. Maybe again next year?

A nice way to relax after a race.

 

Sommer Sports – http://www.sommersports.com/

Southern Hill Farms  – http://southernhillfarms.com/

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