April 5, 2007
Run for the Rivers
Somewhere in the wee hours between Wednesday and Thursday, April 11th and 12 th, Mike Melton, V.P. of local running club, Sailfish Striders, will be taking his first step in what will become an ultra-marathon effort to run from Jensen Beach, Florida to Fort Myers. Mike is dedicating this marathon to “Run For The Rivers” in support of the RiversCoalition and hopes to focus awareness on their fundraising efforts to stop the discharges from Lake Okeechobee to save the Saint Lucie River Estuary.
Much of the course will take Mike Melton along the Okeechobee waterway out to and around Lake Okeechobee and then west, at times, paralleling the Caloosahatchee River and end in Fort Myers. “I know the water looks really good now” said Mike. “We are in drought and the locks are closed but when the rains return, the discharges will start again and we’ll be right back to being the dumping ground for excess water from Lake Okeechobee.”
This won’t be the first ultra-marathon for Mike. He’s been doing them since 2003 and he says that barring the unexpected, he’s confident he’ll finish. He has a support crew that will follow him across the state in their “Run For The Rivers” white van and his wife, Sandy, also an ultra marathon runner, will crew for the first few legs out to Okeechobee.
“I know some people may think this just a nuts thing to do but I feel really good about being able to help focus attention on the efforts of the Rivers Coalition to stop the discharges from Lake Okeechobee.” Melton says. “The race course offers a near perfect opportunity to remind everyone that we are all in this together. The discharges ruin the estuary here on the east coast and they doing the same thing over on the west coast.”
This first ever Sunrise to Sunset Relay Race, a 165 mile course starts at Indian Riverside Park in Jensen Beach on April 13, 2007 and ends in Fort Myers at the Thomas Edison and Henry Ford winter estates Saturday afternoon, April 14, 2007. To make a pledge for Mike’s Run For The Rivers, supporters can visit www.RiversCoalition.org or call 772-225-6849.