Ghosts, goblins, princesses and superheroes will descend upon Nathan Benderson Park Oct. 30 for the 18th annual Boo Run.
Although the 5K race was previously held on Main Street at Lakewood Ranch for 16 years, the race will be run for the second consecutive year at Nathan Benderson Park to allow for more distance between runners, many who will be wearing costumes, at the starting line.
“It went so well last year, we went back again this year,” said Jennifer Tullio, the Boo Run race director.
Tullio can’t wait to see the families and runners return for the annual family-friendly race.
“I love seeing the smile on the face of my son (Grayson Tullio) and on the faces of hundreds of happy runners,” Tullio said. “People like to get out there and dress up."
Anyone who does not wish to participate in person can participate virtually.
Tullio expects at least 500 people to participate in person and virtually this year.
All proceeds will go to Another Day for Gray, a nonprofit with the Community Foundation of Sarasota that started 12 years ago that works to support other organizations that help families with people who have Duchenne muscular dystrophy. The nonprofit helps with Muscular Dystrophy Association camp, research and more. The ultimate goal is to find a cure for Duchenne muscular dystrophy.
“It makes me feel so thankful we still have a community, despite everything that’s going on, that still wants to come and make a difference,” Tullio said.
Tullio said Grayson Tullio and family friend Monika Oberer come up with costumes and dress up every year. This year’s costumes are a secret that will be revealed on race day.
“It gives me goosebumps knowing the anticipation for him that morning,” Tullio said. “Another Day for Gray has been a part of (the race) for the past 12 years of the 18, and he just lights up more and more every year. … He just loves it. He loves talking to people about it and sharing whatever he can with his joy. He’s the happiest kid.”
Wearing a costume during the race is encouraged. There will be a costume contest with prizes after the race in the sponsors village.
In past years, participants have dressed as crayons, princesses, superheroes and more. One of Tullio’s favorites was when a soccer team dressed as dalmatians and the coached dressed as Cruella from Disney’s “101 Dalmatians.”
“They’re always creative, and it’s fun to see what people come up with,” Tullio said.
The Boo Dash also will be available for children this year. The Boo Run was a favorite of Doug Schiller, a Lakewood Ranch resident who died in February 2020 and was co-race director with Tullio.
“He would get out there and be out there with these signs and having all these little 3 and 4 year olds race around in little T-shirts,” Tullio said. “We’ve kept that tradition going even though Doug is no longer with us because it’s near and dear to his heart. It would have been important to him to see that.”