Nearly 4,000 runners participated in the 18th Annual Seaside School Half Marathon and 5K race in Seaside, Florida on Sunday, March 1st, 2020. Half Marathon champion Rodney Stoker, 44, of Chattanooga, TN, sprinted his way into first place, finishing the half marathon in 1:14:18.45. The women’s half marathon winner, Kathy Wolski, 54, of Knoxville, TN, finished strong with a time of 1:26:37.70. Blake Thompson, 38, of Huntsville, AL won the 5K race with a time of 17:19.49 and Michele Bravo, 48, of New Orleans, LA was the women’s 5K winner with a time of 19:52.16.
100% of the funds raised from the race weekend benefit the Seaside Schools Foundation, which supports the operating budget for the Seaside Neighborhood School and Seacoast Collegiate High School. The Seaside Schools are tuition-free, public charter schools serving students in across Walton County. This year, the race raised more than ever with proceeds totaling more than $600,000.
Funds raised through Race Weekend are essential to the operation of our Schools and allow us to thrive in a very special way,” said Teresa Horton, Executive Director of the Seaside Schools Foundation. “Since the Seaside School’s founding in 1996, we have been providing a challenging, individualized education for thousands of students and support from our annual Race Weekend events allows that to continue. We are excited to celebrate 25 years as one of the oldest and highest performing charter schools in the state of Florida during our 2021 Race Weekend!”
Taste of the Race
The charity race weekend kicked off on Friday, February 28th with an evening under the stars at our annual race pre-party, Taste of the Race with Chef Emeril Lagasse. 730 party-goers attended the Seaside party and twenty local chefs competed for the top culinary awards. Amici 30A Italian Kitchen in Inlet Beach won the coveted Chef’s Choice Award with the dish of arancini, meatballs and mini cannolis. The People’s Choice Award went to Havana Beach Bar and Grill at The Pearl 30A in Rosemary Beach with their dish of braised beef short ribs.
“Our culinary community came together to make the 2020 Taste of the Race our best one yet,” said Rick Helfand, Chairman of the Seaside School Foundation. “The outpouring of donations and selfless participation from our local restaurants, chefs, sponsors and volunteers has a substantial and direct impact on the Seaside Neighborhood School’s culinary program. We definitely have the most delicious event on 30A.”
The Race Experience
On Sunday, almost 4,000 runners participated in the Seaside Schools races on a warm day where temperatures reached into the upper 60s. Both races – the Half Marathon and 5K – started in the town of Seaside with a fast, flat out-and-back run along the coastal dune lakes of Highway 30A.
“This was actually my first time in Seaside, and my first 5K. Beautiful place, gorgeous weather… y’all have a wonderful town. I can’t wait to come back!” says Teresa, one of our fantastic finishers.
The 2020 finish line after-party in Seaside featured live music, complimentary beer by Grayton Beer Company, post-race food catered by Bud and Alley’s Restaurant and Great Southern Cafe. This fun atmosphere pulled in thousands of family members and friends of runners to celebrate their achievements.
“This was my 5th time running the Seaside Schools race. It was another great day! I love the area and amazing community of people,” says one of our 5K finishers.
670 volunteers worked tirelessly to ensure a successful race weekend.
“Everyone from parents, students, faculty, board members and community members pitch in to help make this race weekend a huge success,” said Lindsey Hoppe, Seaside Schools Board Member and Volunteer Coordinator for the Seaside School Half Marathon & 5K. “We pride ourselves on being the most fun and friendliest race. We could not do it without our amazing volunteers and we appreciate them so much!”
“This race just gets better and better every year,” says repeat runner, Christine.
Official race results of all finishing participants are available on the Seaside School Half Marathon & 5K website at https://runseasidefl.com/race-results/. Photos from all Race Weekend events can be seen on Facebook Albums.
Dates and registration information for the 2021 events will be available soon at runseasidefl.com.
Relive the excitement!
About the Seaside Schools Half Marathon & 5K
The Seaside School Half Marathon & 5K is the annual charity race fundraiser that supports the Seaside Schools Foundation. Every year, the gap between the Seaside School standard of excellence and the funding provided by the state seems to grow more and more. There are either funding cuts or the schools simply want more for the students. In any case, the shortfall is significant each year. Participation and support of the annual fundraisers provides middle school and high school students in Walton County, Florida the opportunity to participate in elective classes for gardening, music, creative and culinary art, an award-winning robotics program, advanced placement classes as well as career-readiness industry certification courses.
About the Seaside Schools
Founded in 1996, The Seaside School, Inc. was one of the first and is now one of the oldest surviving public charter schools in the state of Florida. Its original goal was simple – create a school to address the need for better middle school education in Walton County – and it hasn’t stopped since. Seaside School now has over 375 students across two campuses serving grades 5th through 12th. Seaside Neighborhood School serves 5th through 8th grades and is located in the iconic beach town of Seaside, Florida. Located on the campus of nearby Northwest Florida State College, Seacoast Collegiate High School serves 9th through 12th grades offering students the ability to graduate high school with an associate college degree.
The vision of Seaside School is to maintain a small school with faculty knowledgeable about each student’s abilities and challenges, so that they can offer increased support to each student to meet those challenges and increase their skills to perform successfully in all academic areas. The Board of Directors seeks to sustain an educational community where an emphasis on academic excellence is complemented by our concern for each learner’s personal growth and intellectual, aesthetic and psychological development. The curriculum is developmentally responsive – actively engaging students in learning skills in context, integrative – directing students to connect learning to daily lives, and exploratory – enabling students to discover their abilities, interests, learning styles, and ways that they can make contributions to society.