First Magnitude Brewing Company has been an avid springs supporter since opening in 2014, hence their springs themed name “First Magnitude”. They have named close to a hundred beers including pilot batches and year-round beers after our springs and rivers! First Magnitude has taken their love for our local water resources farther than most.  For the past three years, they have raised thousands of dollars through fundraising events that support local environmental organizations. This year, First Magnitude selected the Howard T. Odum Florida Springs Institute to be the beneficiary of the annual 7.2k Springs Run. To increase their impact, First Magnitude added to the day’s festivities with their first ever Springs Festival. The first Springs Fest was organized by First Magnitude and members of the bands Aquanova and Locochino, who are known not only for their great music, but also their work with select charities in the Gainesville area.

Thanks to the hard work of First MagnitudeFlorida Springs Institute staff, and over twenty volunteers, the group was able to pull off the most successful Springs Run yet! Close to 600 runners from all over the state participated in Saturday’s events and helped raised over $10,000 for springs education

Florida Springs Institute Associate Director, Heather Obara, and First Magnitude President and Co-founder, Christine Denny prepping for the race!

Florida Springs Institute staff and volunteers checking Runners into the race!

The Springs Run course led runners from First Magnitudes parking lot, around the new Depot Park, and up the Hawthorne trail. The turnaround point was appropriately marked just past Boulware Springs so that once runners arrived back to First Magnitudes main parking lot, they had completed a total of 7.2 kilometers. As some of you may already know, the springs maintain a temperature of 72 degrees Fahrenheit all year round. It was a record setting event for some, with the fastest runner arriving back at the brewery in just over 24 minutes! After returningfirst place winner John Sansalone told the crowd that he did it “for the beer and for the springs”! For those looking for a shorter distance and more relaxed pace, a one-mile fun run was offered following the start of the race.

2018 Springs Run first place winner, John Sansalone, after arriving at the finish line!

Following the Springs Run, Springs Fest took over at the brewery from 2-11PM. Springs Fest attendees were given the opportunity to explore vendors and take part in the “Spring Water Challenge” created by the organization, Play Hard Florida, founded by Carmine Oliverio. Guests also enjoyed performances by well-known bands, trapeze artists, jugglers, and even a screening of the Wes Skiles film, Water’s Journey: Hidden Rivers of Florida. The Florida Springs Institute continued to raise money throughout the night with a raffle tickets and wristbands that offered guests discounts on beer and artwork. The Florida Springs Institute already has big plans for the money raised during these events to support its annual Give Springs a Break educational retreat for college students on April 6-8

Florida Springs Institute Executive Director, Dr. Bob Knight, talking about springs protection and the Florida Springs Institute after the race!

Overall, the day was a huge success for the springs community. Our organization intends to continue working with businesses like First Magnitude, who share the goal of saving Florida’s drinking water. After all, we all drink from the same “source”, and when we join together, we can make a much larger impact.

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