What once inhabited a single room at Alachua General Hospital is now Haven Hospice, a network of compassionate individuals who provide end-of-life care to more than 700 patients in 18 counties. The staff tend to patients at their homes, in nursing homes, and in hospitals, and take on the delicate task of counseling family members who are coping with grief. To support their efforts, Haven Hospice welcomes volunteers to provide companionship for patients and sponsors 5K runs, the proceeds of which benefit the patients and families it serves.
Pulse Fitness Center is owned and operated under the direction of board-certified physicians who know that nutrition is as critical for good health as knowledgeable staff and the latest equipment technology. A team of personal trainers—which includes a former professional football player and a former physical readiness instructor for the U.S. Army—guides fitness seekers toward their personal goals. The team counsels students on dietary habits and points them to machines with the Smart Key digital memory system, which, like a robot butler who has been around since childhood, remembers guests' personal preferences and physical activities. The center's TechnoGym equipment entertains patrons with personal TVs at each station, and an overhead sound system keeps the 10,000-square-foot space pumping with free weights and FreeMotion equipment.
Guests can drop kids off for childcare before classes ranging from TRX suspension training to Zumba sessions with dance moves set to Latin-inspired music. Licensed professionals at the medically directed center provide physical, occupational, and speech therapy at the in-house Harland Rehabilitation Clinic.
The Color and Glow Run could just as easily be called the Color and Glow Walk, or the Color and Glow Dance. It’s not important how fast racers finish the 5K course, what’s important is what those runners wear. As long as they sport a white T-shirt, they can enjoy a colorful or glow-in-the-dark makeover at the hands of the race’s volunteer crew.
Every year, enterprising athletes across the nation line up with courage beyond reason for the Rugged Maniac 5K Obstacle Race. Fiery hurdles, 12-foot climbing walls, and barbed-wire-blanketed mud pits await those indomitable souls, who garb themselves in glory, grit, and sometimes banana costumes. Whether going it alone or collaborating as a team, finishing racers are rewarded with a banquet of hot food and cold beer, a commemorative T-shirt, and the ability to make muddy tires the world over cower in fear.
During the Superhero Scramble, racers of all fitness levels tear across arduous terrain littered with body- and mind-challenging obstacles. Participants must wade through mud and, to reach the finish line, persevere through a barrage of Super Slime generously donated by retired Ghostbusters.
Upon completing the race, athletes ride their endorphin high into a party stocked with ice-cold beer. There, they can mingle with other contestants, sway to live music, and see awards doled out to the fastest runners in each age bracket. Male and female Scramble Gamble contestants compete for a cash prize that can cover the cost of replacing the engines in their sneakers. The benefits of the race extend beyond the Gamble winners, too—the organizers donate 5% of each registration fee to charity.
Humans and canines come together for the University Commons 5K-9, a morning event brimming with races and parades in support of pet charities throughout Gainesville. The day commences with an 8 a.m. onsite registration, followed by a breakfast feast supplied by Mi Apa Latin Café, then a 5K (3.1-mile) race at 9 a.m. Participants can accompany their own pooches or bask in the general air of flying fur for a one-mile pup run and dog parade at 10 a.m., promptly segueing into the 10:30 a.m. awards and pet superlatives ceremony. From 8 a.m. to 11 a.m., a pet expo coincides with the racing and parading festivities, assembling professionals who preside over veterinary clinics, dog daycare centers, pet spas, and canine finishing schools to teach dogs proper annunciation.