Need to brush up on your leadership skills? How about starting by leading a Mardi Gras parade? The Mainland Mardi Gras Fun Parade Run 5K gets underway tomorrow immediately ahead of the mainland’s official parade.

Two things about Texas City’s annual Mainland Mardi Gras Fun Parade Run 5K make it the perfect kickoff for the upcoming weeks of Mardi Gras festivities: the fun run is the beachhead for the rest of the parade’s floats, bands and participants, giving runners and walkers the important task of getting the crowd fired up, and its noon start time makes it an option for those whose Mardi Gras celebrations were in full force the night before.

“The fun run is open to any kind of non-motorized movement,” race organizer Kim Bachmeier said. “You can run, walk, skate, bike, push a stroller or pull a wagon.”

Runners can enter a competitive timed division, or opt for the untimed division.

“Everyone in the fun run is welcome to throw beads or candy, or just enjoy a run with three miles of tailgaters and spectators cheering you on,” Bachmeier said.

The fun run, and the parade, begin at Carlos Garza Park in Texas City. After turning onto Palmer Highway, it’s a straight shot down Palmer to downtown Texas City. After turning onto Sixth Street, the fun run finishes at the Showboat Pavilion, where post-race refreshments and entertainment are planned.

“It’s a one-way course, but you can get back to your car at Carlos Garza Park by hitching a ride on a parade float,” Bachmeier said. “It’s really a fun parade and a great family atmosphere.”

Because of the spectators lining the course, Bachmeier cautions that there will not be a water station during the 5K.

“We’ll have water at the park, but if people feel they’ll need some along the route, they should bring some,” she said. “There will be plenty to drink afterward, along with food from Whataburger. Whataburger is a great community partner, working with so many local races.”

On-site registration will be available beginning at 10:30 a.m. Adults are $20 for the timed race or $15 for untimed, and children are $10 for timed or $5 for untimed. There is no charge for children under 5 who are accompanied by adults. More information is online at mainlandmardigras.com.

Bernice Torregrossa: bernice92@aol.com

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