First of Run 863 series in the books

Continuing the celebration of the 90th anniversary of Bok Tower, Carillon Classic went off without a hitch on Saturday, Feb. 23. The race is the first in the four-race Run 863 Series.

For the second consecutive year more than 350 runners took to one what many consider to be one of the most challenging 5K courses in the state thanks to the various elevation changes and the variety of running surfaces.

The Carillon Classic is the first in a four race series – dubbed Run 863 – that started last year. Competitors who finish three of the four races receive a special commemorative medal.

Downtown Winter Haven hosts the next race in the series, the March 9 Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics. Held in conjunction with the Winter Haven Police Department, proceeds are donated to Special Olympics Florida.

Llamas and camels and zebras will be among the sights at the Safari Wilderness Run, the next challenge in the series. Held at Safari Wilderness on March 23, the course takes runners alongside many of the animals grazing at the ranch.

The last race in the series is the annual Tiger Trot 5K on April 20 at Publix Field at Joker Marchant Stadium in Lakeland. The certified course starts at the stadium parking lot, weaves its way through Lake Parker Park and ends inside the stadium near first base.

The Carillon Classic was established in 2012 as a charity fundraiser by the Dick Pope/Polk County chapter of the Florida Public Relations Association (FPRA).