What could be better than starting the new year with a fun outdoor event? How about starting the new year with an outdoor event that also benefits a full year of fun outdoor events?

The eighth annual Friends of Galveston Island State Park New Year’s 5K/10K Fun Run/Walk returns to the park Jan. 6, 2018, with some new additions.

“For 2018, there’s a new 1K for kids under 12,” race coordinator Kim Bachmeier said. “It’s a very family oriented event, and we’re hoping that adding a 1K will encourage even more families to participate together.”

The 5K and 10K courses have also been changed.

“The routes will now stay on the park roads instead of the park trails,” Bachmeier said. “The roads are paved with asphalt, so recent rains won’t be an issue. The whole course will be dry.”

Using a route that won’t need to be altered means that the course can be certified as well as chip timed.

“One of the committee members has put an amazing amount of time into making sure the course has been accurately measured and ready for certification,” Bachmeier said. The fastest runners will receive awards in 10-year age groups.

All the races take place on the bay side of the park, starting near the education center and its heated restrooms, with the Kids 1K beginning at 9 a.m., followed by the 5K at 9:30 a.m. and the 10K a few minutes later.

After the races conclude, participants are encouraged to stay for breakfast and prize drawings.

“People should make plans to stay and enjoy the park,” Bachmeier suggested. “It’s a wonderful natural environment.”

The proceeds of the run benefit the Friends of Galveston Island State Park’s programs for education and park stewardship. The Friends staff the Nature Learning Center, restore the coastal prairie, lead kayak trips and purchase kayak equipment and provide school field trips to more than 2,000 students.

Registration is open online at fogisp.wordpress.com. Adult registration is $30, and the Kids 1K is $20. All participants receive a performance T-shirt and other swag, and door prizes will be awarded at the post-race breakfast.

Bernice Torregrossa: bernice92@aol.com

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