VyStar Emerald Trail 5k Race

On Saturday October 23rd, the second annual VyStar Emerald Trail 5k race, presented by 1st Place Sports and JTC Running, will take place at Jacksonville’s Emerald Trail, which is currently under construction by Groundwork Jacksonville and will connect creeks, historic neighborhoods, businesses, and more with around thirty miles of trail by 2029. All proceeds will go towards benefitting Groundwork Jacksonville, which “was established in Jacksonville in 2014,” said Groundwork Spokesperson Trish Kapustka, “with the purpose of converting brownfields in the urban core to green space and also restoring our urban creeks.”

The trail’s history dates back to the Great Fire of 1901, the biggest urban Southeast fire. American architect Henry John Klutho helped rebuild Jacksonville after the fire. Kapustka described how Klutho “envisioned what he called an emerald necklace of parks and green space that surrounded downtown.” “Jacksonville has had a lot of plans for urban renewal and redevelopment downtown,” Kapustka stated. “But for a number of years, I mean, for decades, really, they’ve looked at how they could kind of create this necklace that Klutho envisioned.” Creating this necklace became “a primary mission for Groundwork to make that vision a reality.”

The Emerald Trail plans “to bring investment and renewal into urban neighborhoods that haven’t seen investment in a very long time.” Kapustka explained. Moreover, Kapustka explained the trail “creates a connection for the community. So people are going to see parts of Jacksonville that they’ve never seen before. It really creates social connections and understanding among people from all walks of life that is very important to creating a sense of community.”

But perhaps most importantly, the trail is going to establish Jacksonville’s first iconic destination. “Jacksonville kind of suffers from this lack of identity. We don’t have that iconic space that when someone comes to visit.” Kapustka explained. “It’s going to create that iconic destination, where, whether you’re a resident or a visitor to the city, you are going to want to go to the Emerald trail. It’s just going to be that place Jacksonville’s known for.”

Attending the VyStar Emerald Trail 5k is a great way to help Groundwork accomplish its mission. The race will start and finish at Andrew A. Robinson Elementary School, with the bike race starting at 7:30am and the walk / run at 8:00am. To register, visit 1stplacesports.com and go to the races tab. Click on Race Calendar and scroll down to October 23rd. Click on “VyStar Emerald Trail 5k” for more information.

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