By Michelle Colesanti

One of the area’s most popular 5k races is getting even better. The 19th Annual FishHawk Ranch Road Race kicks off 2016 with a new starting location and race course. The Road Race, which will take place on Saturday, January 30, will now begin at Central Park in FishHawk Ranch by Newland Communities at 14215 Barrington Stowers Dr. in Lithia.

This area is located in the west area of FishHawk Ranch. With more space to accommodate runners and spectators, participants will still get to enjoy the scenic nature trails that FishHawk Ranch is known for.

Newland has proudly collaborated with the FishHawk Road Runners to help make this event a success. Through its commitment to education, and its collaboration with the FishHawk Road Runners, the money raised supports local area schools: Bevis Elementary, FishHawk Creek Elementary, Stowers Elementary, Barrington Middle School, Randall Middle School and Newsome High School. Proceeds from the race also fund an annual scholarship given by the FishHawk Ranch  Road Runners Running Club. In total, well over $300,000 has been raised over the years.

This year approximately 600 runners are expected to take part in the race, which will include 30 age groups.

“The FishHawk Ranch Road Race grows each and every year,” said Jill Harris, marketing manager for FishHawk Ranch. “We’re so pleased that our residents not only turn out to support their neighbors, but want to rally around our local schools.”

After the race, enjoy a post party with random giveaways along with food and refreshments.

The 5k will begin at 8 a.m. and the kid’s races (1/2 mile and one mile) will begin at 9 a.m. There will be medals for all the kids who participate.

The fee for the 5k is $25 in advance and $30 on the day of the race. The kids’ race registration fee is $15. There will also be T-shirts for 5k participants in both men’s and women’s sizes. Awards will be presented to overall male and female winners along with the top three in each age group.

Interested participants can register at www.fishhawkranch.com. For information, call 685-7500. The pre-race packet pick-up will be held Friday, January 29, from 4-7 p.m. at the FishHawk Ranch Welcome Center, 5901 Village Center Dr.