THE PLAYERS DONNA 5K opened with a bang Saturday, May 6 as The DONNA Foundation and THE PLAYERS Championship welcomed a milestone race to TPC Sawgrass’ iconic 17th island green ahead of tournament week.
The 10th annual 5K made its cap at 1,750 participants a full 10 days before the event, breaking its own record for the earliest closing time on registration. The increased interest, due in part to the race’s 10th anniversary, was apparent as participants and supporters flocked through the Nicklaus Gate in pink and green argyle, representing the fight against breast cancer and the continued partnership of THE PLAYERS Championship.
The overwhelming demand was a welcome sight, according to Amanda Napolitano, executive director of The DONNA Foundation. Even more uplifting, she said, was the show of love from a community determined to see the end of breast cancer.
“With the help of the tournament, the 5K and PINK OUT at THE PLAYERS has raised nearly $400,000 toward this cause,” Napolitano said. “So, for me, it’s a great event because everyone is out in pink – not just racing, but celebrating and supporting one another while bringing us that much closer to our goal.”
For its 10th consecutive run, THE PLAYERS DONNA 5K came bearing gifts: This year, all race participants received commemorative finisher medals in pink and green marked with the date of the race and emblematic symbols of the foundation’s partnership with THE PLAYERS Championship. The medal, a breast cancer awareness ribbon fashioned into The DONNA Foundation’s signature runner, is outlined in gold and adorned with pink and green argyle socks representing a “golf-style finish to breast cancer,” Napolitano said. Registered participants also received a complimentary stadium pass to PINK OUT at THE PLAYERS.
Saturday’s event was just one in a series of events this year commemorating the race’s 10th anniversary; the celebration began Feb. 12 with the 10th annual DONNA Marathon Weekend, which saw more than 10,000 participants. That even set a record for the most participation of a single DONNA Marathon Weekend in the foundation’s history.
The festivities will continue on Championship Sunday, May 14, when The DONNA Foundation will present PINK OUT at THE PLAYERS by washing TPC Sawgrass with pink to raise breast cancer awareness. The DONNA Foundation will be honored as Charity of the Day and will receive a gift from THE PLAYERS that will help power the programs that serve breast cancer patients throughout the country.
But for the foundation, Napolitano said, the support of THE PLAYERS Championship and the community at large is priceless.
“With these events, we’re able to take breast cancer patients and their families from a place of fear to a place of love,” she said. “And this is just one more way we can surround them with love and support.”