Zoo Miami’s 10th Annual ZooRun

Ava Stuzin, News Editor

On Oct. 8, the Miami Zoo will host its 10th annual 5K ZooRun, benefiting West Kendall Baptist Hospital and the Zoo Miami Foundation. The event encourages runners to dress up in animal-themed costumes and run through the park’s different themed areas. 

“The money raised is split between Baptist Hospital and the Zoo Miami Foundation with all the initiatives we’re doing on conservation, animal health and education,” Zoo Miami Manager of Events and Stewardship Stefan Schwindeman said.

Fees to enter the race are $50 for the ZooRun 5k, $35 for the Virtual ZooRun 5k and $25 for the ZooKidsDash through October 7, with prices increasing by $5 for day-of tickets. The ZooRun5k is a race for all ages, where participants run 3.1 miles in an hour and fifteen minutes. The ZooKidsDash is the kid’s version of the 5k, where the course distance is divided by the children’s ages; 2-3 year-olds complete a 100-meter race, 4-5-year-olds complete a 200-meter race and 6–9-year-olds complete a 400-meter race. The Virtual Zoo Run allows participants unable to attend the race to experience it from home by finishing the 3.1-mile distance any way they want while tracking their miles. They are then mailed a finisher medal after the in-person race.

“To get new and old runners involved we send out emails and post on our social media channels and our website. And of course, we do a press release for all local media so they can get it out to the public. A lot of our marketing is word of mouth, ” Zoo Miami Director of Marketing and Integrated Communications Cindy Castelblanco said. 

New this year to commemorate the 10-year anniversary of the 5k, is a smaller 10k race. Runners of this course receive a unique premium shirt and get to experience a new course. The 10k limits participation to 200 runners who should be able to complete the 6.2 miles in under an hour and a half.

All participants will receive a goodie bag, a medal and a free day at the zoo upon the completion of the race.  

“Not only do you get to go to the race, but then after the race, you can walk through the zoo and you get a medal and a shirt. You also get a drawstring bag with goodies, which everyone gets access to, with items depending on our sponsors,” Schwindeman said.

The top three participants and the top three racers in each age group will win prizes and a special plated medal

Since 2019, the zoo has been unable to hold this race in person because of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, this did not stop the zoo from hosting a virtual event. For the past two years, Zoo Miami has held a virtual 5k providing a more flexible option for those unable to make the race day.

“The last two years were virtual because, as part of partnering with a hospital [it] was not safe to gather thousands of people together during that time. Since the pandemic, the event has been able to grow and have an average of 3,000 people,” Castelblanco said.