On Monday, event organizers announced the Race For Trace, a road race being staged in memory of fallen cyclist Tracey Kleinpell while at the same time offering support for Florida Diabetes Camp.
The inaugural 5K fundraiser has been scheduled for Saturday, Aug. 6 at the Sanibel Beach Place shopping center, located at 20321 Summerlin Road in Fort Myers. Runners — including race walkers and stroller-pushing competitors — will take off at 7 a.m. southbound, towards Bunche Beach on John Morris Road before turning around at the cul-de-sac for the final sprint towards the finish line back at Sanibel Beach Place.
Kleinpell tragically lost her life on May 7, 2011 while cycling along the Sanibel Causeway. She and her husband, Gordon, were riding their bicycles and heading off the island late that morning. A truck driven by Bokeelia resident Theresa Lynn Shirley drifted into the bike lane along Span C, striking Tracey on her bicycle.
The inaugural Race For Trace will take place 13 weeks to the day that Kleinpell was killed. However, her friends say that Tracey would've wanted it that way.
"Tracey’s favorite day of the week was Saturday, because she spent the day with Gordon biking in beautiful, sunny Florida," said event organizer Kelly Thomas. "Aside from pedaling around the world, Tracey loved riding in Sanibel. She actually described to me one day, in detail, just how incredible it was to cross the Sanibel Causeway."
To honor her life, a group of friends and fellow biking/running enthusiasts thought that an athletic event of this sort would provide a positive legacy that would also benefit Florida Diabetes Camp, which provides a fun, safe, educational and diabetes-friendly camp environment for children with Type-1 diabetes and their families.
In addition to the 5K race, a Kiddie Fun Run will begin after all of the participants have finished. There will also be a Zumba class and Health Fair following the race.
Kleinpell worked as a registered nurse and was a certified diabetes educator, starting her career at Lee Memorial Hospital's Diabetes Treatment Center. She later worked at Nemours Childrens Clinic, helping children with diabetes and other endocrine disorders. Most recently, she was employed at Merck Medco as an RN educator. She taught new onset diabetics how to test their blood sugars, modify diet, manage the disease and minimize its complications.
Pre-registration pricing for the 5K is available on or before Friday, Aug. 5, and is $30 for adults and $15 for youth (18 and under). Race day registrationfor the 5K is $40 for all ages. The Kiddie K is by donation only. All registrations are non-transferable and non-refundable.
Registration options include:
• Online at www.racefortrace.org until Aug. 5 at 5 p.m.
• In person at packet pickup on Saturday, July 30 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Run Florida, located at 13101 McGregor Blvd. in Fort Myers.
• On race day (Aug. 6) at Sanibel Beach Place from 6 to 6:45 a.m.
"As Tracey’s memory lives on, may it be her spirit that continues to drive and survive in all that we do, so that we may emulate the extraordinary way in which she lived her life," added Thomas. "Our mission is to provide our community with a purposeful opportunity to honor Tracey in 'fund-racing' stride. With great effort and commitment, we are focused on leading friends to fitness, contributing to the Florida Diabetes Camp, and being a source of strength, comfort and sanctuary to Tracey’s extended family."
For additional information about the event, visit www.racefortrace.org.