Spring training continues with games in Tampa (Yankees), Clearwater (Phillies), and Dunedin (Blue Jays), but I thought I'd provide a list of other things to do in the Tampa Bay area, including a whole slew of 5K runs, a softball tournament hosted by USF, and the Harlem Globetrotters.
This is “the season” for all of us Floridians and what better way to enjoy it than to help a cause while helping out yourself. There are six benefit walks/runs this weekend (that I know of…if there are anymore, please feel free to pass them along to me). Here is the list:
The Suncoast Classic The Classic is in its 11th year benefitting the local Ronald McDonald Charities of Tampa Bay. This year’s event will feature beads, beads, and more beads — “super cool, super fun, multi-colored” ones, according to the organization’s website. The home base has moved from BayWalk to the new Fit2Run store, 256 Second St., in St. Petersburg. The route takes runners along the shoreline along the downtown St. Pete waterfront. The event begins at 7:55 a.m. on Saturday with a wheelchair race, followed by the 10K race, 5K race, Pelican Mile, Kids Fun Run, and culminating with an awards celebration with giveaways. For mor information, runforkids.com.
Pedal for Pink Viva Las Chicas presents the Second Annual Pedaling For Pink bike event in Largo to educate the public about breast cancer risks. Proceeds benefit individuals and families who are dealing with breast cancer diagnosis. The race — a 32-mile or 64-mile course — begins and ends in John Taylor Park. All the action gets started at 8 a.m. For more information, visit: http://p4pvlc.kintera.org/faf/home/default.asp?ievent=1028338.
A Walk for Hope and Help For years, local entrepreneur Julie Weintraub’s charitable organization, Hands Across the Bay, has contributed to programs and events dedicated to improving the quality of life in the region. The Walk for Hope and Help is a 1.5 mile walk at Fort De Soto Park in St. Petersburg to show support for suicide prevention and address suicide related issues. The event, which includes guest speakers, a balloon release, and a lunch, runs from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. For more information, visit http://handsacrossthebay.org/2013/01/a-walk-for-hope-and-help-march-2-2013.
Bark in the Park The 26th Annual Walk for Animals happens on Saturday at Al Lopez Park in Tampa. The celebration to benefit the Humane Society of Tampa Bay runs from 8:30 a.m. and lasts until around noon. Donations provide the shelter with financial assistance for food, spay/neuter services, and medical care for thousands of animals left homeless. Emceed by Fox 13’s Charley Belcher, the event includes a pet costume and talent contest, a one mile walk around the park, a dog activity area nicknamed Dogtown USA. For more information, visit http://www.firstgiving.com/hstb.
Stepping Up 4 Kids Entering its third year, this fun run event on Sunday isn’t as competitive as the other 5K races. The family-friendly one mile and 5K run benefits the Suncoast Hospice’s Stepping Stones programs and services that are dedicated to helping children and young adults who are living with a serious illness. Check-in is located at the Holland G. Mangum Recreation Complex in Seminole. For more information, visit thehospicefoundation.org/page.aspx?pid=408.
Zap Zoom The Eighth annual 5K run and walk on Saturday morning takes participants through the Lowry Park Zoo and along the Hillsborough River. Registration includes a T-shirt, post-race refreshments, one free zoo ticket, and entry into the new DinoQuest2 exhibit. For more information, visit: lowryparkzoo.com/zoozoom.
Globe Trottin' The Harlem Globetrotters bring their talent to the USF Sun Dome on Saturday at 7 p.m. This year’s version of the zany basketball team features players like Tiny, a 7-foot-8 center from England, the high-flying Flight Time Lang, and three women players named Mighty, TNT Maddox, and T-Time Brawner. The fan-participation event includes rules submitted online by fans. For more information, visit or http://www.sundomearena.com/">harlemglobetrotters.com/ or http://www.sundomearena.com/.
A Tourney of Their Own The USF Under Armour Invitational takes place from Friday to Sunday at the Eddie C. Moore Complex in Clearwater. The Bulls softball team is the host of the tournament that brings in some of the best programs in the nation. USF is one of 17 teams in the invitational, which features Florida Gulf Coast University, University of Kentucky, and Providence College. For more the full schedule and ticket information, visit: usfseries.com/2013-tournament-002.php.
Soldier Boy Are you man (or woman) enough for a competition that challenges your strength, endurance, agility, and speed? The Brave Soldier Challenge takes place on Saturday at the University of South Florida. The two-stage event includes one designed to test one’s strength and endurance and another one focused on a person’s strength and agility. Each event is scored strictly on time. For more information, visit bravesoldierchallenge.com.
Pain and Gain Before the highly anticipated movie, “Pain and Gain,” starring Mark Wahlberg and The Rock comes out this spring, why not check out what bodybuilding is all about at the ABFF Clearwater Super Natural Bodybuilding Championships. Men, women and teens will showcase their best physiques in a competition dedicated to those who train naturally. The contest takes place at Countryside High School with preliminaries starting at 10 a.m. and finals beginning at 6 p.m. on Saturday. Bodybuilding legend Eddie Robinson will serve as a special head judge. For more information, visit clwnatural.com.
Jump! The 25th Annual Florida’s Beach Gasparilla Classic Gymnastics Invitational comes to Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg. Hosted by Lightning City Gymnastics and the St. Petersburg/Clearwater Sports Commission, the invitational features approximately 3,000 gymnasts representing 130 teams from 22 states and eight countries. This event is typically one of the largest gymnastic meets in the nation. Competition starts on Friday and lasts throughout the weekend with the finals taking place on Sunday. For more information, visit lightningcity.com/gasparilla.html.