For the News-Gazette
The third annual Town of Celebration Marathon and Half Marathon will be Sunday Jan. 31. Presented by TriJunkies and Raw Threads, this is the only annual marathon to take place in Osceola County.
“The attraction of Central Florida weather in January, the beauty of our course, and the proximity to Disney World all play a factor,” said Ken Zambito, founder and race director for the Celebration Marathon and TriJunkie founder. “Additionally, we are very focused on runner experience from packet pick-up to the post-race celebration. People appreciate that and are willing to travel for races that can deliver on the major points, but also pay attention to the small details.”
Zambito founded the nonprofit marathon to benefit people in the community. This year’s proceeds will benefit high school seniors, by being awarded scholarships through the Education Foundation of Osceola County. Adult seniors will also benefit through The Celebration Foundation’s ‘Thriving in Place’ program, which aids ages 55-plus to live their lives to the fullest while aging or managing a disability.
Coming up on its third race, the Celebration Marathon has donated roughly $124,000 to the Education Foundation, making it the Foundation’s largest donor. It has also donated $40,000 to various local non-profit clubs, teams and organizations.
“I am lucky to wear two hats,” said David Berelsman. “I sit on the board of the Education Foundation of Osceola County and the Town of Celebration Marathon… When Ken approached me and said he wanted to donate [a portion of] the proceeds of the Marathon to scholarships, I knew it would be a natural fit.”
The 26.2-mile race will kick off at 7 a.m. Participants are welcome to Celebration’s downtown area after the event for a celebration with food samplings, courtesy of the town’s restaurants. Some registrants are participating in the Virtual Race— a separate event, in which the runners will run a half or full marathon in their own town.
“Our nonprofit board starts planning this event one year in advance to enhance runner experience and generate funds for our charities,” said Angel Bolton, assistant race director for the Celebration Marathon. “We are looking forward to seeing our runners and volunteers!”
For more information, visit CelebrationMarathon.com.