Tom Kelly, center, with 10K Committee Members Ed Ridlehoover and Nicole McHale
Tom Kelly, center, with 10K Committee Members Ed Ridlehoover and Nicole McHale

Tom Kelly is commemorating his 100th foot race at the 10K Race 4 F.I.S.H., which is in its 10th year as Sanibel’s only foot race. Kelly will be among the hundreds of runners in the lineup for the 7:30 a.m. start Saturday, Oct. 27 on Periwinkle Way in front of the Sanibel Community House.

Kelly chose the 10K Race 4 F.I.S.H. for his 100th race because he believes in the services F.I.S.H. of SANCAP offers the island community. “F.I.S.H. is an important part of what makes this community special and I couldn’t think of a better way to honor my 100th race,” he said.

Kelly began running near the age of 70, after his wife of 55 years passed away. It took Kelly a year to resume activities, but eventually found a group of younger running mates who were welcoming, kind, accepting and opened up a new world to him. “They became like family to me,” he said. Kelly has since participated in half Ironmans, half marathons, full marathons, a duathlon and many 5K and 10K runs. He has even taken three trips with the Vermont Bicycle Tour.

We are delighted to have Tom join us for our 10th annual race day and wish him the best in his special race,” said 10K Committee Co-Chair Ed Ridlehoover. “We are grateful to the runners, volunteers and sponsors who have supported the 10K throughout the past decade. They have made it possible.”

Race day, like F.I.S.H. OF SANCAP, requires several volunteers to be successful. Last year, there were more than 100 volunteers on race day, as well as support from the Sanibel police and fire department. Volunteers are mostly from service organizations, such as Optimist, Kiwanis, Lions, Rotary and Zonta. Other volunteers are from island churches and businesses.

While runners and volunteers are essential to the race, it is the broad-based support of more than 60 Sanibel-Captiva sponsors who also play a vital role in making race day possible. The Lee Health Foundation has been the Premier Sponsor of the 10K Race 4 F.I.S.H. for the past two years.

The Fort Myers Track Club has been designing the course in cooperation with the City of Sanibel since the 10K race began. The closed-circuit course includes a right turn within the first mile to Casa Ybel Road and a turn-around at Island Inn Road with a mile-and-a-half remaining. It can be a mentally challenging course. Many solo runners and teams return each year for many reasons, but locals say it's about community.

Runners receive a t-shirt, medallion and goody bag. Race day will conclude with an awards ceremony in the Community House.