On Saturday, April 19th, I participated in the 4th Annual Pig Run of Lake Nona in Orlando. This was my third year participating in this event, and believe me when I say that it gets bigger and better every year. The race organizers are my neighbors, but I would definitely run this race even if I didn’t know anyone personally involved in it.
There are two wonderful but very different things that set this race apart from other 5Ks. First, all of the proceeds from the run go to The Hailey Collins Foundation – a local Lake Nona charity that provides gifts such as books, toys, pajamas, theme park tickets, and financial grants to the children at Nemours Children’s Hospital to help keep them entertained during their visits. The Foundation was created as a way for the Collins family to honor their daughter, Hailey, who passed away as a result of her cancer in 2011. Although I never had the opportunity to meet Hailey, many of my neighbors knew her well, and it is wonderful to be able to help her family honor their little girl through helping others.
What else sets this race apart from the rest? Doughnuts! At the halfway point of the race, runners enter the “Pig Pen” and attempt to eat some fresh, delicious glazed doughnuts from Dunkin’ Donuts! During registration, the runner selects whether he/she wants to eat 0,1,3,6, or 12 doughnuts while in the “Pig Pen.” Although I only ate one measly doughnut, I stood in the “Pig Pen” for a few extra minutes to watch people eat a dozen doughnuts as quickly as possible. People were stacking them three high and stuffing them in their mouths. HILARIOUS, yet a tad gross. Although this is more of a “fun run” than a serious race, the runners who choose to take it a bit more seriously and skip the doughnuts are able to bypass the “Pig Pen” entirely and keep on going.
The course is flat and shady, but not a particularly fast course. The race begins at the Lake Nona YMCA on a fairly narrow path, and the first 1/2 mile is quite congested. Fast runners are told to go up front while those walking or with strollers are encouraged to go towards the back, but this is certainly not a fullproof method for preventing a traffic jam. It is important to focus on having a blast – not on getting a PR. (I knew I wasn’t taking it seriously from the get-go which is why I hung out in the “Pig Pen” for a few extra minutes to watch the shenanigans.)
(photo by Renee’s Photo Studio)
To round out the festivities, there was also a Kids Fun Run, a raffle, and a silent auction. There was even a live pig in attendance!
The Pig Run of Lake Nona has grown by leaps and bounds every year. The first Pig Run had only 65 participants. This year, there were over 1,400. An added bonus this year was that everyone who participated received an awesome pink medal. I thought this was a great perk since medals aren’t typical for the 5K distance.
All in all, the Pig Run of Lake Nona is an absolute blast, and I can’t wait to participate in it again next year. If you are considering doing it in 2015, go for it! I will post info about signing up for it once the details are available!
Have you ever run a race with a fun gimmick like eating doughnuts in the middle?
If you were to run in the Pig Run of Lake Nona, would you be up for eating a dozen doughnuts? If not 12, how many?
(I did not receive any compensation or perks for writing this review. I simply love the event, and I wanted to spread the word about an awesome race!)