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The Foot Landing in Punta Gorda will offer Hot August Nights 8K on Aug. 24

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footlanding8klogoBrace yourselves, Gulf Coast runners, for what seems like the coolest of cool summer races.
It’s called the Hot August Nights 8K.
It’s next Saturday, Aug. 24.
It’s in downtown Punta Gorda.
The race will begin at 10 p.m., which is cool. The course will follow the Peace River waterfront, which is cool. There will be a full moon, which is cool.
The 5-mile run will end atop a 4-story parking garage, where there will be a view of the river and a party with a live band, cold beer and sandwiches, Mexican food and margaritas.
Very cool.
The woman behind all this is Sherri Lennon, who opened The Foot Landing running store in December. She’s been shaking things up for Punta Gorda runners with weekly pub runs and other events.
Hot August Nights is her baby.
“When I started talking about this, everybody looked at me like I was crazy,” Lennon says, laughing. “But Active.com put us on a top 10 list of summer runs and that drew a lot of people. I’ve got runners coming from all over the state and Colorado and Germany.”

kiwanismidnight runfootMidnight inspiration
Lennon is a 54-year-old radiology technician who moved to Punta Gorda from Key West. Her husband Ralph, who helped design The Foot Landing, is a former charter boat captain.
Lennon has been a runner since 1977. She does everything from 5 and 10Ks to half-marathons and marathons.
She got the name for the Punta Gorda race from the annual Hot August Nights celebration in Reno, Nev., where she once lived. Another inspiration was the Kiwanis Midnight Run, which has been a Fourth of July tradition in Dunedin, Fla., for 34 years.
“That’s our hook,” says race director Joe Garrison. “I always, always tell people, if you want to start a run, you need a hook.”

Lighting the way
Manny Masony is a triathlete who just moved to Punta Gorda from Alaska, of all places. He races for Team Foot Landing, though he says he’s still getting used to the humidity.
He’s looking forward to Hot August Nights.
“It’s different, and not just for this area,” Masony says. “It being here and at night adds a lot of intrigue.”
footlandinglogoLennon has her hook and expects more than 300 runners on Aug. 24. More than 60 volunteers will help mark the route with luminaries — candles set inside plastic water jugs.
Sponsors include the Celtic Ray, a pub which will provide beer and fish and chips for the post-race party atop the Herald Court Centre. Subway will provide sandwiches. Dean’s South of Border will offer Mexican food and margaritas. There will be food tickets on sale for non-runners.
The Wyvern Hotel has a special $90-a-night rate for out-of-town runners.
For Lennon, the whole idea is to make it a special evening. That one of the reasons she chose the unusual distance of 8 kilometers.
“5Ks are a dime a dozen,” she says. “If you come all the way here for a run, we might as well give you a good one.”

 

Interested?
The Hot August Nights 8K will begin at 10 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 24, in downtown Punta Gorda. The race will start in front of the old Charlotte County Courthouse, 227 Taylor Street, and end atop the 4-story parking garage at Herald Court Centre, 117 Herald Court. Entry fees are $38, $40 the day of the race. For more information, visit thefootlanding.com or call 347-7751.
Last modified: August 13, 2013
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