By Anna Byerley
After a year filled with virtual events, The Parklands 5K Walk and Run presented by Enchanting Adventure Travels is planning to hold its third annual event in person this June. All proceeds support The Parklands Fund, which takes care of the maintenance and operations of The Parklands and its 4,000-acres of land that is available 365 days a year with zero entry fee. We spoke to The Parklands of Floyd Fork’s Director of Communications and Marketing, Anna Rosales-Crone, to learn more about The Parklands and its upcoming race.
What is your favorite part about The Parklands that you feel sets it apart from other parks in the area?
We are fortunate to live in a city with so many great parks. My favorite part of The Parklands that sets it apart from other area parks is the variety of trails offered. Visitors can take a short stroll on a paved pathway, escape for a nature hike on one of our natural-surface trails, or take a lengthy bike ride on 19 miles of the Louisville Loop. The Parklands features 22 miles of water trail along Floyds Fork, which adds another option for adventure-seekers. In Louisville, we have all of the benefits of living in an urban center, while being just a short drive away from an outdoor escape.
Since this is the third annual event, was last year’s event virtual? If so, what does it mean to The Parklands to be able to host an in-person event this year?
In order to ensure a safe experience for race participants, we shifted to a virtual event in 2020. Those who registered were able to complete the 5K course at any time over a one-week period. Despite going virtual, we had 500 individuals participate. It was wonderful to see so many sign up to support the parks virtually, but we are looking forward to returning to an in-person event on June 12. We are bringing back awards this year, and, as in the past, the 5K takes place during our Membership Drive, so park supporters can look forward to our newest wave of Member perks, including a new tree guide and park print featuring unique designs created by park staff. Participants still have the option to participate virtually if they wish, and we are implementing additional protocols on race day to help curb any spread of the virus.
How much money do you anticipate raising from this event and what have you raised in the past?
The Parklands 5K helped raise a net of $50,000 each year in 2019 and 2020. We hope to increase that to a net of $65,000 in 2021.
Why is it important to continue to support the maintenance and operations of this park?
The Parklands of Floyds Fork is unique in that we are a privately funded public park. We do not receive tax dollars to support annual operations, so we rely on donations from individuals, businesses and foundations to continue delivering a safe, clean, fun and beautiful experience for the more than 3 million visitors to our parks each year. Participants of The Parklands 5K Walk & Run are helping to provide free access to this community asset 365 days a year, as well as helping to preserve these nearly 4,000 acres for future generations.
What are some of the highlights of what The Parklands offers visitors?
There is an abundance of amenities in The Parklands to serve a variety of activities including hiking, biking, paddling, fishing, picnicking, exploring and learning, not to mention splashing and playing. Our playgrounds and spraygrounds were shuttered in 2020, so we are excited to now have them back open for families to enjoy. Our education programs delivered through The Parklands Outdoor Classroom went virtual last year, and we are looking forward to shifting back to in-person programs in the months ahead. We encourage everyone to visit our website to learn more about our parks, upcoming events and to learn more about how to get involved as a Parklands Member and volunteer.
The Parklands 5K Walk and Run is being held at Beckley Creek Park on June 12, 2021, at 8 a.m. A virtual option is also available for those who wish to complete the course on their own time.
To register for the race, please visit runsignup.com/parklands5k.