By Amanda Hatfield Anderson
VIERA -- Lace up your sneakers, and bring the family along for a one-of-a-kind race this weekend.
On Saturday, Feb. 15, Running Zone will host its eighth annual 3K at the Brevard Zoo. There will be two back-to-back races.
"No Monkey Business," the first race, begins at 7 a.m. and is geared toward more serious runners. The second race, "Scenic Route," begins at 7:35 a.m. and is for individuals and families, who would like to take their time on the trail.
Cost to participate in the races is $28 in advance and $31 on race day. Proceeds will benefit the Brevard Zoo.
The Brevard Zoo offers 50 percent off admission to all race participants on race day, as well.
"In 2006, Brevard Zoo was approached by the owners of Running Zone, Don and Denise Percy, to see if we were interested in hosting a race on zoo grounds," said Michelle Smurl, director of animal and conservation programs. "The zoo provides a unique venue for race participants and an opportunity to see behind-the-scenes areas."
Ms. Smurl added that Running Zone has been generous to the zoo, donating $41,000 of race proceeds to date.
Just as in previous years, the 3K races are animal-themed.
"We are celebrating the opening of a new meerkat exhibit in Expedition Africa that will also feature African rock pythons and 'Dik-Dik,' a small antelope," Ms. Smurl said. "All participants are welcome to dress like a meerkat."
This Saturday's race will take runners through a 1.8-mile course, starting at the front entrance of the Brevard Zoo, that winds throughout the zoo grounds. The trail will give participants plenty of opportunities to view animals along the way.
There were not always two races for runners of different disciplines, however.
Ms. Smurl said that the zoo implemented the two back-to-back races in 2013 to prevent overcrowding on the course.
With photo opportunities with "Zippy the Gecko" and a special Meerkat L'il Kids race, where all runners receive a special prize, the 3K races hosted at the Brevard Zoo are a great time for all participants.
"This is the only zoo race in the county. It is a family-friendly event and fun for all ages," Ms. Smurl said. "The course is unique, and animals are visible along the entire race course. Zoo keepers are available after the races for meet-and-greets with special animal guests and Running Zone provides great awards and prizes."
The Running Zone will host its eighth annual 3K races at the Brevard Zoo on Saturday, Feb. 15, with two back-to-back races.
"No Monkey Business," the first race," begins at 7 a.m., while "Scenic Route," the second race, begins at 7:35 a.m.
Cost to participate is $28 in advance and $31 on race day.
For complete details or to sign up, visit www.RunningZone.com.
For more information, visit www.BrevardZoo.org.