Suzanne Thomas is admittedly not much of a runner. But the director of the annual Run for Ret 5K, which returns to Hilton Head Island on Saturday for the seventh consecutive year, still has a vested interest in this latest race thanks in part to her CrossFit regimen.
"Having CrossFit there with this run is really, personally, rewarding for me," she said. "Hugely rewarding. Because I believe in CrossFit and I love the owners of CrossFit Hilton Head. They're really keeping me going in so many areas."
While the focus of the run will once again be on the high school division -- Hilton Head Preparatory School, Hilton Head Christian Academy, Hilton Head Island High and Bluffton High runners will be in attendance -- Thomas is expecting a big chunk of CrossFitters to also zero in on Sea Pines this weekend.
"We had over 150 CrossFitters that came from a number of different states (last year)," she said. "That's a whole boost to the run."
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The CrossFitters take part in the same 3.1-mile course the runners do, but also stop along the way to do burpees, pushups and deadlifts. Their version has been dubbed WOD for Ret, short for "workout of the day."
The race will once again lead entrants through the Sea Pines Forest Preserve, the only race of its kind to go through the area, Thomas said. The trails take runners and walkers on a scenic route that travels through forests, wetlands and around lakes.
"It's a special race because it's the only one that's allowed in that pristine Sea Pines Preserve," she said. "A lot of people have never been in there. ... That sets this race apart, too, because they're running in just incredible nature."
Also new this year is a Kids Fun Run for children ages 3 and up. The event, which costs $10, features special runs and prizes for kids who are not yet able to take part in the 5K.
Runners should mention at the Sea Pines gates that they are there for the run and will be admitted without the $5 entrance fee, Thomas said.
Runners and CrossFitters can sign up at the Hilton Head Prep fieldhouse until race time at 8 a.m. The registration fee is $35 and benefits the RET Pediatric Cancer Foundation, which was established after Thomas' son, Ret Thomas, passed away in 2000 at the age of 15 following a year-long battle with Ewing's Sarcoma.
"We get a lot of people from out of town that now come back every year," Thomas said. " ... It's become kind of a family thing for tourists who come back just to do it. That's a lot of fun, reuniting with friends once a year."
Run for Ret 5K
What: The seventh annual Run for Ret 5K benefits the RET Pediatric Cancer Foundation, which was established after former Hilton Head Prep student Ret Thomas passed away in 2000 following a year-long battle with Ewing's Sarcoma.
Where: The race begins at the Hilton Head Prep fieldhouse in Sea Pines. The course goes inside the Sea Pines Forest Preserve.
When: Saturday, 8 a.m.
Admission: $35 for the race, $10 for the Kids Fun Run.
Additional information: Runners should mention at the Sea Pines gate that they are there for the run. They will not have to pay the $5 gate fee, Suzanne Thomas said.