Sarah Wolking, her 11-year-old daughter, Caroline, and 13-year-old son, Benjamin, will run through Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park on Saturday to raise money for Caroline and Benjamin’s campmates.
The Wolking family is among 149 people who have registered to participate in the fourth annual Little Run on the Prairie hosted by Alachua County 4-H, a camp program, and the UF/IFAS Extension Alachua County Office. The run, which starts at 8:30 a.m., funds scholarships for campers.
4-H, which stands for head, heart, hands and health, partners with public universities nationally to offer children 5 years old to 18 years old activities including after-school programs and school clubs, according to its website.
Last year’s 5K raised about $3,000 and allowed for 30 students to attend a camp, said Ricky Quintana, the race director. This year, 149 participants have registered and more are expected to attend.
“We started off four years ago with 50 participants, so it’s grown significantly,” Quintana said.
The race goes through Paynes Prairie trails and ends at a finish line with snacks, said Amanda Morgan, the Alachua County 4-H agent.
Depending on the weather, attendees will either be able to make their own trail mix or a smoothie by using a bike that blends as participants pedal, Morgan said.
“The goal is to have a family fun and friendly event, but also to raise money for the summer camp scholarships,” Morgan said.
Wolking has helped lead a run club of children 7 years old to 18 years old in preparation for the 5K, she said.
“I’m a cheerleader and a part time coach just to encourage the kids to get out and be healthy no matter what their physical fitness is,” Wolking said.