"From humble beginnings, great things become," explained Frenchy's Restaurant owner Michael Preston (known as Frenchy) when speaking about the third annual Frenchy's 5K Gumbo Run and 1 mile Beach Run, held last Saturday at the Rockaway Grill. Over 120 adults and children came out this year to enjoy some exercise on a beautiful morning and the party that followed at the Rockaway Pier.
The first two years of the Gumbo run were held in conjunction with the City of Clearwater's annual Beachfest, and when Beachfest was canceled, Frenchy and his devoted volunteers decided to hold their event anyway. Registration began at 6:30 a.m. For fifteen dollars participants received a T-shirt, bottle of Frenchy's hot sauce, a $5.00 Frency's gift certificate and a breakfast consisting of fresh fruit and Krispy Crème donuts.
Prizes were awarded to winners for men and women in different age groups from nine years old and under through sixty years old and older. Overall female winner was Sara Schultz who finished the 5K in just over 23 minutes. The men's overall winner was Joe Smith who finished the race in just over 20 minutes. Each child that participated was given a red, white and blue ribbon for the efforts.
Rob Powers, a city employee and volunteer for the Frenchy's Gumbo Run, commented that "Frenchy plans to hold this event annually." "We have more people interested each year and we'll grow with that interest." Next year the 1 Mile Beach Run will become a run/walk, because Frenchy wants to reach out to families with small children. All monies raised during the event are contributed to PACE Center for Girls, a non-profit prevention and early intervention program offering school based programs for at-risk girls.
Both races ended at the patio on the gulf-side of Frenchy's Rockaway Grill. Attendees had a chance to enjoy the view and a hot bowl of Frenchy's famous Seafood Gumbo. What a perfect way to start a Saturday morning!
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