This summer marks the 15th year of our favorite running event, the Run Nona 5K and Nemours Kids’ Run! The annual race brings out runners and walkers from across Central Florida for an energetic afternoon of exercise and fun, as participants of all ages make their way through Lake Nona and explore Orlando’s coolest community.
In honor of the 15th anniversary, we’re looking back at the wonderful traditions of Run Nona and discovering how this event grew to become one of the community’s most beloved annual traditions.
Run Nona was founded in 2008 as an interactive event designed to introduce families and friends from across the region to Lake Nona. During the race’s early years, the landscape of Lake Nona looked much different. Current fixtures such as VillageWalk and Medical City were in their infancy. Still, organizers wanted to create an experience that would familiarize attendees with Lake Nona, get them excited for what’s ahead, and reflect the values that make our community so special. With a focus on wellness, family-fun and immersion, the Run Nona 5K was born.
Run Nona has welcomed nearly 20,000 runners and walkers over the past 15 years! Rain or shine, hot or cold, the 5K has guided participants through the various pockets of the community, from exploring the beauty of VillageWalk and its bridges to the urban Town Center and winding through the earliest phases of Laureate Park. Its route shifts every year to showcase the newest additions to our neighborhood.
But such a large-scale event, the first of its kind in Lake Nona, could not be put on without the many partnerships essential to its enduring success. Since its beginning, Run Nona has been produced by Track Shack, Orlando’s longstanding running resource for 45 years.
The Nemours Kids’ Run, which has been part of Run Nona since the beginning, is named for the event’s cornerstone sponsor, Nemours Children’s Hospital. In fact, the Nemours Kids’ Run is one of Track Shack’s most popular kids’ runs in the region with nearly 3,000 kids participating since 2008. Amongst participants, the team competition event at Run Nona has brought together groups of all ages to run for a cause since 2016.
And if collaboration is essential to the Run Nona 5K, then celebration is just as key. This may be clear to anyone who has seen the colorful T-shirts, vivid themes and cheerful energy that brighten the 5K each year. But the celebration doesn’t end at the finish line!
“Our Lake Nona partners have always ensured that the race is a great time for the runners, walkers and families,” said Track Shack Vice President of Communications Natalie Casey. “No race comes close to the post-race atmosphere at Run Nona. The Nemours Kids’ Zone was and is legendary.”
Run Nona’s signature block party, a post-race celebration founded in 2013, is an event that covers the Lake Nona Town Center with amazing attractions. As the Town Center has grown, so has the after party. In 2016, we celebrated with The Beacon for the first time, and over the years, more Town Center businesses have been added to the mix. Park Pizza & Brewing and the culinary team at Boxi Park are just some of the many partners that have helped celebrate the runners’ accomplishments and bring out the summer spirit of Lake Nona.
In its 15 years, the Run Nona 5K and Nemours Kids’ Run has changed many times in theme, color and scale, but the event’s everlasting dedication to wellness, community and celebration has run steadily. In many ways, Run Nona is an event that has grown in parallel and complement to the community of Lake Nona itself.
Interested in joining us? There is still time to sign up! Visit runnona.com to find more information, including the race-day schedule. We hope to see you on Aug. 27!