Light Up The Night 5K Lights Up Downtown Winter Haven
by James Coulter
For nearly half a century, Nanette Rodgers has been jogging in marathons and half marathons. Even at her ripe old age, not only is she able to continue running and jogging, but also winning.
Rodgers was one of the hundreds of racers who turned out to the Light up the Night 5K race through downtown Winter Haven, hosted by the Junior League of Winter Haven.
Before this race, Rodgers had run a half-marathon at Celebration this past Sunday. As for Light up the Night, this was her sixth year participating.
Rodgers fully supports the Junior League and its many endeavors in the community. Not to mention any excuse to jog is a good one.
“I love running and being out here in Winter Haven, and supporting all of them,” she said. “I love being out here and seeing everyone and being able to celebrate when it is over, especially when we get all our awards.”
Approximately 200 to 300 people participated in this year’s Light up the Night on Friday evening. Once the horn was blown at 7 PM sharp, racers ran, jogged, and paced their way across the starting line near the BB&T parking lot.
They then traversed through the downtown area around Central Park and returned to the starting line to finish. Afterward, participants were able to enjoy the celebration party and awards at Grove Roots Brewing Co.
Proceeds from the event will go towards the Junior League of Winter Haven to support its many local programs within the community. The non-profit organization partners with other groups and establishments including Girls Inc. of Winter Haven and the Winter Haven Women’s Hospital.
According to its website: “Locally, for over 40 years the Junior League of Greater Winter Haven has supported our local community, specifically women and children, in times of need. Our main focus is to help our most valuable and at-risk individuals through our fundraisers and community projects.”
“We are so happy with the turnout,” said event organizer Courtney Beaver with the Greater League. “We had about 200 to 300 people turnout tonight. Everyone wants to come out and support their community through the Junior League.”