Junior League of Eastern Fairfield County’s (JLEFC) 4th annual Healthy Families 5K Run and Walk will take place on Earth Day — Sunday, April 22, at 9 a.m. This all-ages, family-friendly event combines running or walking for a cause with the opportunity to discover the animals and habitats throughout Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo in Bridgeport. The unique course features two loops through the zoo with a loop around the entirety of historic Beardsley Park.
Proceeds from the race will benefit the JLEFC’s myriad of community outreach programs, including the Healthy Families, Healthy Futures initiative. The program addresses children’s physical and developmental health by focusing on literacy; parent, child, and family connections; healthy eating; and healthy, active lifestyles to better prepare children for success in school and beyond.
As in years past, runners and walkers of all ages and abilities are invited to participate. The day will begin with the Kids’ Fun Run, a free, non-competitive, quarter-mile race open to children in grade 6 and younger. Following the kids’ race, adults can complete a computer-timed, winding 5K run or walk through the zoo. For those who wish to tackle a shorter course, debuting this year is the untimed, non-competitive, and open-to-all-abilities 1.5K Wellness Walk. Whether choosing the 5K or 1.5K course, participants will see the zoo’s menagerie of tigers, prairie dogs, anteaters, and exotic birds. Both courses take runners through the zoo and finish near the historic carousel. Prizes will be awarded for the top male and female finishers, as well as for the top three finishers in nine age groups. Prizes will also be given for Best Costume; runners and walkers of all ages are encouraged to show their spirit and dress as a favorite animal. All registered participants, including children who purchase a ticket for the event, will receive a commemorative t-shirt.
Runners and walkers will replenish post-race with food and fluids at the finish line. The Post Race Party will also feature entertainment and activities, including a special Earth Day activity. In addition, all registered race participants will receive a ticket to Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo and are invited to spend the rest of the day exploring all the zoo has to offer.
Those who wish to contribute to the JLEFC’s mission but can’t make it to the zoo on race day are invited to join the Virtual Race. Donate online, then run, jog, or walk from anywhere — the road, a favorite trail, the treadmill, the gym, the track, or even another race. Virtual runners can use the hashtag #away5k to keep other participants and the JLEFC posted on their progress. All virtual and in-person runners and walkers can use the hashtag #JLEFC5K to track their training progress pre-race and to share results and photos on race day.
“I can’t believe our 4th Healthy Families 5K is almost here,” said JLEFC President Melissa Clear. “This signature event is a huge piece of our Healthy Families, Healthy Futures initiative. Funds raised at the 5K allow us to continue providing community services like our Cook and Feed for Friends in Need program, which provides healthy meals for local families; and Leaguers Building Readers, which promotes literacy in our community; as well as other fun family events throughout the year. Thanks to our new and returning sponsors, including our newest sponsor, Santa Energy, and thanks to all registered runners and walkers. We couldn’t keep reaching out to our community without your support.”
Registration for the 4th annual Healthy Families 5K Run and Walk will close at 500 participants, so early sign-up is highly encouraged. Those registered by April 18 are $25 for ages 19 and up and $18 for ages 13 to 18; participants ages 12 and under are only $12. Advance registration will officially close at 8 p.m. on April 18. Group pricing is available for groups of 10 or more. To learn more about the event schedule, group pricing, and sponsor/partner opportunities, visit https://www.jlefc.org/support-us/healthy-families-5k-runwalk/. To register for the race or the virtual race, visit https://runsignup.com/Race/CT/Bridgeport/TheHealthyFamilies5KRunWalk.
To learn more about the JLEFC, visit www.jlefc.org or call the JLEFC office at 203-259-9995.
The Junior League of Eastern Fairfield County supports the communities of Bridgeport, Easton, Fairfield, Monroe, Newtown, Redding, Shelton, Southport, Stratford, Trumbull, Weston, and Westport.