ORANGE BEACH, Ala. (WALA) - The 41st Annual National Shrimp Festival presented by Zatarain's is known for great Alabama seafood. Organizers are once again offering you a way to enjoy the seafood without worrying about the calories. The Shrimp Festival Run will be held Saturday, October 13.
The event isn't just for the serious runners. There's a 10k that starts at 8 a.m. and a 5k that starts at 8:30 a.m.
For a second year, the race will take place in Orange Beach at the Sportsplex and the Hugh S. Branyon Backcountry Trail.
"Because of the traffic situation during the Festival weekend in Gulf Shores, when Walt (Graham) and I became the race directors, we decided to hold the run at the Sportsplex in Orange Beach, and take advantage of the Hugh S. Branyon Backcountry Trail," Co-director Frank Malone said.
"City officials have worked with us diligently, and we believe the trail offers a great place for the runners to be able to concentrate on their running and not on traffic. I can't say enough about how helpful the city was in helping us put this on."
This is also the second year Malone and Graham are in charge of the race. However, Malone's roots go back more than 30 years.
"I participated in my first one in 1978. There were a lot of runners, including me, who look forward to the Shrimp Festival Run every year," he said. "Many people who took part in the race during its early years still participate, and some even have their kids and grandkids in the race. It's great to see the race become kind of a family tradition."
Graham said about 500 runners participated last year, and this year is looking even better.
"With the registrations we have now, it puts us ahead of where we were this time last year," he said. "It wouldn't surprise me if we have close to 600 runners this year."
Proceeds from the 2012 Shrimp Festival Run will benefit the Coastal Baldwin Educational Enrichment Foundation, Inc. The non-profit group offers scholarships and grants to students and teachers at the public schools in Orange Beach and Gulf Shores.
"We're thrilled to again be named the beneficiary of the proceeds from this year's run," CBEE Foundation President Tracie Sweat said.
"We received a sizable donation last year, and we look forward to utilizing the funds this year to help make sure our students and teachers have access to items to enhance the educational experience that fall outside the funding provided by our financially-strapped school system."
Sweat is one of the many who plans to participate this year.
"The Backcountry Trail is a great place to run all the time, but it is especially great during this time of the year," she said. "It's not too hot and it's not too cold. The surface of the Trail is pretty easy on the feet as well."
Malone wants to thank the sponsors of this year's Run. This year they include LA Fleet Feet, Sports'N More, The UPS Stores in Orange Beach and Foley, ERA Class.com Realty, Wintzell's Oyster House, the Gulf Shores and Orange Beach Sports Commission, Island Air, Publix, the Mullet Wrapper, Tacky Jacks, Budweiser, Cosmo's, Cobalt, Domino's Pizza and Gulf Island Grill.
"We couldn't put this on without the great support we get from out sponsors," Malone said.
If you would like to particpate, the race entry fee is $25. Registration will be available at the entrance of the Shrimp Festival on October 11 from 4 p.m. until 7 p.m. and October 12 from 4 p.m. until 8 p.m. Race packets will also be available at the same time for pickup.
Day of race registration will cost $30. Race day registration and packet pick up is at the Orange Beach Sportsplex from 6 a.m. until 8 a.m.
For more information on the run, see the registration form on the Festival website at www.nationalshrimpfestival.com and click on 10K/5K run.
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