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Back You are here: Home Features Events and Features Fort Fisher Aquarium 5K Race for the Planet Celebrates Health

5K Race for the Planet Celebrates Health

Nearly 250 runners kicked their way through steady winds Sunday morning to complete the 5K Race for the Planet at the N.C. Aquarium at Fort Fisher. First timers, families and seasoned athletes celebrated their health and Earth Day at the fifth annual event.
Participants received high-fives from costumed characters including an octopus, a frog, a spadefish, and a shark.
They also took in beautiful views of Fort Fisher, and went home with organic cotton race shirts, reusable tote bags and memories of finishing the greenest race around.
Andrew Tobben, 24, outpaced his competition winning the 5K  race in a time of 17:42. Tomasz Kochanowicz, 38, and Shawn McKee, 33, took second and third place with times of 18:29 and 19:09 respectively. Sarah Hallenbeck, 37, took the top female spot with a time of 20:56. Runners and walkers, aged 5 to 72, followed a scenic 3.1-mile course along US 421, through the historic Fort Fisher Civil War site, the maritime forest and along an ocean path to finish the race in front of the Aquarium. “The goal of the 5K Race for the Planet is to plant a seed for eco-conscious living and health,” said Robin Nalepa, co-race director.
“Our hope is that all the athletes walk away from the race thinking about ways they can carry Earth Day into their everyday activities. Their support of the event helps the Aquarium continue to share messages of conservation throughout the year, as well.”
Proceeds from the race benefit the Aquarium’s conservation and education programs.  Runners and walkers also received free tree saplings and wildflower bib numbers for their efforts.  Overall and age group winners received eco-friendly medals made from recycled glass.
As an added bonus, free admission to the Aquarium was granted to participants. Race sponsors and donors included: Pepsi, Fresh Market, Omega Sports, Queensboro Shirt Company, Brunswick Timing Services, Catch, Coastal Car Wash, Fort Fisher State Historic Site, Islands Fresh Mex Grill, Lovey’s Natural Foods and Cafe, N.C. Aquarium Society, Toys R Us and Wilmington Area Woodturners Association. Race results are available at www.