Running and walking events have a new Galveston venue aimed at combining the fun of the beach front with a central location.

The 2014 Walk to End Lupus Now, set for Saturday, will be the first fundraising walk/run to use the Galveston Island Historic Pleasure Pier as a starting and ending point.

While it’s called a 5K walk, event organizer Janell Long will be happy to see runners there as well.

“I’m a runner myself, and the walk’s grand marshal, County Commissioner Stephen Holmes, is planning to run it, too,” Long said.“One of the local boxers, Eugene Hill, will also be running.”

Long created a 5K course that takes in the neighborhoods around the Pleasure Pier, making a loop that includes the stately Victorians along Rosenberg Avenue and a long stretch down Avenue O, passing Kempner Park and more of the island’s most interesting architecture.

The course makes a turn on 37th Street and heads east on Avenue P, turning back toward the seawall on 25th Street for a short leg back to the Pleasure Pier.

After the walk/run, the Pleasure Pier will host the post-walk party.

Participants will also be able to purchase discount tickets to the Pleasure Pier if they want to spend the day there.

Runners and walkers will have three hours of validated parking in the lot at 26th Street and Seawall Boulevard.

The 8:30 a.m. start time will be preceded by a ceremony at 8 a.m. that includes releasing a cloud of butterflies.

“We’ll release butterflies in honor of lupus survivors,” Long said, explaining that butterflies are a symbol of the fight against lupus, which is often identified by a butterfly-shaped rash across the cheeks and nose.

The Walk to End Lupus Now is family friendly, with children and strollers welcome.

Children younger than 12 have the option of registering for $10 and receiving a T-shirt or foregoing the shirt and participating at no cost.

Adult registration is $20 and is available at the Pleasure Pier beginning at 7:15 a.m. Saturday.

More information is available at lupus.org/texasgulfcoast.

Bernice Torregrossa is a five-time marathoner and a water exercise instructor. She can be reached at bernice92@aol.com.

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