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Photos: Because It Happened!: 2019 Donna 5k at THE PLAYERS, March 2

March 3, 2019:  It was a very pink morning at a very green venue for the 12th edition of the Donna 5k at The PLAYERS, on Saturday, March 2, at the famed TPC Sawgrass course in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida. With the move to March from May of The PLAYERS Championship in 2019, so too came a rescheduled date of the charity 5k hosted by The Donna Foundation in its ongoing initiative to provide awareness and assistance to those affected by breast cancer. Over the past years, the 5k course has changed somewhat, with different start and finish points near the TPC Sawgrass Clubhouse or behind the 17th Tee area. The course takes participants (run or walk) through the back nine of the spectacular course, past Holes 10 and 11, around several food court sites set up for the tournament, around the 16th Tee and along the fairway, past the renowned 17th Tee and Green, before heading to the cartpath next to the 9th fairway and green, and then making the turn home toward the magnificant clubhouse and the dual finish/start line. For those who watch the tournament on TV, broadcast doesn't capture all of the hills and elevation nuances, and the 5k course tracked those as well (in other words, there's quite a bit of hilly terrain here!).



Whether you're a golf nut (hands up!) or not, everyone can agree that the event is a wonderful charitable fundraiser at one of the most beautiful venues ever to hold a championship golf tournament (or, simply, an amazing property in its own right). And, this isn't just "any" golf tournament, it's The PLAYERS! A couple of weeks ago, this website attended a preview of the 2019 tournament, with an early look at the course. Fans will notice a number of layout changes, beginning with the entry at the main Nicklaus Gate from the general parking area. 

The Donna 5k is also a great way to get an early sneak-peek at the course before tournament week, which is March 12-17 this year. So, here we go! Photos: Because It Happened!

This year's 5k Start took place adjacent to the course Clubhouse, at the new area named "Sawgrass Square." With well over 1500 ready participants lining the start, Donna Deegan addressed the crowd and made several introductions of race staff and event partners.


Donna Deegan thanking everyone for being here...



These guys at the front of the line were set to head out...


Meanwhile, finishers' medals await at the finish line:


Following the National Anthem, the runner wave got the go-ahead:


And, they're off!

A look from somewhere near the back of the runners' wave at the Start:

lots of pink; and purple: this year's event shirts featured the pink running ribbon on purple:

From Thursday's early packet pick-up
The green at the Par 5 - 11th Hole will provide some thrills this year, with its greenside bunker and water.


More than a few stopped to take photos of the well-known 16 and 17, and although this website has more than its fair share of said photos, here's one more:

16th Green in the foreground, with 17 Green in the background. Stadium seating at 17 is in place.
Note the rolling hills. The Par 5 - 16th Hole is always an exciting place to be or watch.
Sunday pin placement will be closer to the water's edge.
And, 17? Well, it speaks for itself!

 
Speaking of the new Nicklaus Gate entry, from the main general parking, fans will walk over the new boardwalk to a redesigned "experience" featuring Stadium Village and activities, merchandise, and concessions. It was taking on the finishing looks, with more progress than a couple of weeks ago:

The redesigned fan experience at the Nicklaus Gate entry.
Don't forget the 17th Challenge Hole:
I'll be there volunteering for The First Tee! Take a swing!
After reaching the 5k finish line, it was time to visit the vendors set up along the walkway near the new Sawgrass Square (look for restaurants and a merchandise tent in the area during the tournament). 

Finished for the day!

Welcome to The PLAYERS!
As race winners were announced, participants cheered their accomplishments, and enjoyed the surroundings. (The overall first place finisher, Jonathan Hulzebos, finished with a time of 15:56... Whoa).


Park-like atmosphere at the Sawgrass Square area. Post-race hot dogs were a hit, too!

Another great time at the Donna 5k at The PLAYERS!






This was my eighth time participating in the Donna 5k at The PLAYERS, and it's one anticipated event on the annual calendar! For this sports-enthusiast golf-nut, the excitement is building for the tournament to begin. If you're making your way to The PLAYERS for the first time, be sure to wear comfortable walking shoes -- as mentioned above, it's a hilly terrain, even on the cart paths. Counting steps? You'll get 'em here! 










The 2020 Donna Marathon Weekend will take place February 7-9. 

The PLAYERS Championship begins with practice rounds on Tuesday and Wednesday, March 12-13, and tournament rounds Thursday-Sunday, March 14-17. 

It was another awesome time at the Donna 5k at The PLAYERS for a great cause at a great venue! Maybe next year, I'll have a faster time, but it's kinda tough to concentrate with these surroundings, and the views here never get tiring!  

See you at The PLAYERS!

Til next time, 














Linda
Linda Johnson

Escapades, Brews and Running Shoes
Florida Travel and more 
www.brewnymph.com

(all photos: Linda Johnson/BrewNymph for brewnymph.com)


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