Running with Rockstars

Meet the motivated group of do-gooders out to hit the road for the benefit of others and score some bling along the way.

The Big Hammock Race Series (BHRS) is a statewide award-winning series of foot races and a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization with a mission to make walking and running fun and to inspire participants to reach their fitness goals through an engaging yearlong program.

The series also gives back to the community by selecting and promoting races with a charitable component. This group’s fourth season, presented by Ocala Health, consists of 10 races that officially kicked off at the beginning of July with the RockStar Virtual 5K. The self-reported race can be completed at any time or place from July 1st of this year through June 14, 2020.

The first on-site race was the Aug. 24 Go with the Flow 5K. Next up is the Cornerstone 5K on Sept. 21 in Ocala.

“We like to change things up every season with new races and new medals to keep things exciting and motivate people to participate,” says Karen Donnelly, the volunteer co-founder, along with Tina Banner, for the organization. “This year we have five new races spread out from Ocala to Wildwood. We are very particular about races in the series and vet them all very strenuously,” she continues.

“To be eligible for BHRS awards you have to purchase a season 4 pass from our website,” says Donnelly. “You have to be a BHRS passholder to earn score card points and challenge awards. Through Sept. 22nd, a season 4 pass will cost $45. Then it’s $50 through Oct. 31; $55 through Dec. 31; and $60 through Mar. 31, 2020.”

BHRS passholders who complete the RockStar Virtual 5K will earn 10 points. They can also receive a “wild card” that can be redeemed to replace a missed race, therefore helping to earn challenge awards.

Another benefit to registering as a passholder before midnight on Sept. 22 is that it will ensure you reserve a Season 4 T-shirt and ultra-lightweight reflective race jacket in your size. After that, sizes and availability are strictly first come, first serve.

“We invest a lot of time and effort in our gear and people really like it. Our official colors this year are teal, orange and lime green,” says Donnelly. “As the series progresses, we start to see a sea of BHRS T-shirts.”

BHRS Season 4 passholders compete with others in their same age/gender division to earn points for year-end awards and swag.

“Some BHRS participants are very competitive and we allow for that,” says Donnelly. “But the main focus of the series is to challenge yourself to move your body and set healthy goals.”

Here’s a look at the BHRS Season 4 Challenge Awards and Medals:

RockStar Virtual 5K Medal –

Presented by iDeploy

“This is our second year of the RockStar Virtual 5K and it has been a huge hit. It is limited to 500 spots and they go quickly,” says Donnelly. “Of course, the medal for this race is a guitar. But this year, we’ve made it an electric guitar with the pick in the shape of our BHRS signature acorn.” Donnelly noted that “moving wings have been added to the guitar to help you soar.”

To earn this medal, participants must register at before spots sell out or by May 31, 2020. At completion, participants post results on their Virtual Strides account to receive their medal by mail.

Super Medal Challenge – Presented by Paddock Mall

To earn this medal, participants must complete all four Super Races: the Halloween 5K on Oct. 26 in Ocala; the Mount Dora 5K & 1/2 Marathon on Dec. 21; next year’s Miles for Meridian 5K on Feb. 8 in Newberry; and St. Paddy’s Day 5K on Mar. 7 in Ocala.

“This medal is going back to our Big Hammock name origins with lots of earthy elements,” says Donnelly. “It has a large 3-D acorn that opens up with the race lineup printed in it. There is also a charm ‘4’ to denote the four Super Races.”

Lucky Charm Challenge – Presented by Goosehead Insurance

This medal combines elements of the two Lucky Charm Challenge races: the Sangria 5K on Nov. 16 in Hawthorne and next year’s Emerald Mermaid Escapade 5K on May 9 in Wildwood.

“The Sangria is represented by lemons, limes and oranges, which are symbols of good luck and well-being,” says Donnelly. “The Emerald Mermaid Escapade is represented by a treasure chest that opens to reveal gemstones. There is also a mermaid siren like you see on ships.”

Perfect 10 Glass Challenge

Only those who complete all 10 races are awarded the Perfect 10 Glass. This season’s glass is orange with the BHRS-Season 4 imprint.

“It is a very coveted award, but hard-to-earn award,” says Donnelly. “Out of 400 participants in Season 3, only 110 earned the Perfect 10 Glass.”  The Perfect 10 Glass and the season-ending awards will be handed out at the wrap-up party on June 20, 2020 at Cone Distributing.


BHRS Season 4 Remaining Races Schedule

Through June 14, 2020: RockStar Virtual 5K

September 21: Cornerstone 5K (Ocala)

October 26: Halloween 5K/10K–

Super Race (Ocala)

November 16: Sangria 5K-Lucky

Charm Challenge (Hawthorne)

December 21: Mount Dora 5K & ½ Marathon – Super Race (Mount Dora)

January 11, 2020: Run For

Reading 5K (Ocala)

February 8, 2020: Miles for Meridian 5K– Super Race (Newberry)

March 7, 2020: St. Paddy’s Day 5K –

Super Race (Ocala)

May 9, 2020: Emerald Mermaid Escapade 5K – Lucky Charm Challenge (Wildwood)

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