It’s a great day to lace up your sneakers and get ready for the 11th annual Paul Hoover Memorial 5K and 1-Mile Fun Run/Walk scheduled for Saturday, June 25, at Wakulla Springs Park in beautiful Wakulla County.

The race is hosted by the boys and girls cross- country team at Wakulla County High School, and is named in honor of beloved former Coach Paul Hoover.

Registration for the race is available online and is open until June 24. The registration deadline if you want a race T-shirt is June 17.

If you are not a runner (or a walker), the event hosts a silent auction of incredible items donated from the community including baskets and services from local restaurants, shops, and even Wild Adventures tickets.

Additional donations to the silent auction would always be appreciated as all proceeds from the race and the silent auction support the activities of Wakulla High School’s cross- country team during the upcoming 2022 competition year and fund the Paul Hoover Scholarship.

“With the support of the boosters and the funds raised during the annual race, we are able to assist runners with the costs of running camp, expensive equipment, and to provide snacks throughout the season,” said Coach Mike Martin. “These funds mean kids can participate in this sport with little out-of-pocket costs to the family.”

Sponsors welcome

There is still time to sign on as a sponsor to the race. Race sponsors may contribute at different monetary levels and be recognized on the race day T-shirts and receive other benefits.

“As Race Director, I am encouraged every year when I see the continued support of the community for our kids and for the cross country team,” said Dr. Michael Atkinson. “Sponsors are essential to the success of our event.”

History of the event

When Coach Hoover showed up at Wakulla High School 15 years ago, the Wakulla High Cross Country program had only 15 participants. Since that time, participation has grown to between 30 and 40 athletes per year. The cross-country team has had many regional qualifying teams, district championships, runner-up teams, and individual regional and state qualifiers.

“Our kids are also excellent students and citizens. This past year, 20 out of 30 of our runners had a GPA of 3.5 or higher. With the strong foundation we have at Wakulla, we are expecting a great season this coming year,” said Coach Martin.

How to sign up

To be a part of this exciting event as either a race participant or a sponsor, please register for the event at: www.hoovering2022.eventbrite.com/. The deadline to register online is midnight June 24. Or, if you prefer to help with a sponsorship or a donation to the silent auction, please contact Coach Mike Martin at mike_martin23@yahoo.com.

As a registered nonprofit organization, donations to the Booster Club are tax deductible.

“Sponsorships help us continue to develop the program and encourage participation. Contributions will be used to purchase team uniforms, end-of-the-year awards, and to help send runners to summer running camp. This is a great opportunity to positively affect the lives of our children,” said Race Director Atkinson.

Sponsorship will also help fund the Paul Hoover Memorial Scholarship Fund. The scholarship helps those runners as they continue with their education goals. Past recipients have used those funds to continue their education.

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