The 16th annual St. George Island Sizzler 5K Race has been designated one of 15 Grand Prix events for the 2013 season by the Gulf Winds Track Club of Tallahassee.

Club members earn points by participating in these sanctioned events which are held to a high standard for record keeping and course measurement and must be properly insured and offer proper amenities.

Founder Hobson Fulmer said the Sizzler has been part of the Grand Prix circuit before. “They rotate you out every few years,” he said. “You’re more likely to get asked back if you do a good job with your race. It also helps that I am active in the Gulf Winds club.”

Fulmer said he put together the first Sizzler in 1998. “I had started the cross country track program at Apalachicola High School. The county commission gave me permission but wouldn’t give me any money so I had to find a way to raise money to get my kids to meets,” he said.

“Around 2003, I had stopped coaching and the run became a fundraiser for the humane society. It has grown a little every year. For a long time, I had to do it by myself with just the help of my staff and spouse. Last year, it really took off. We developed a Sizzler committee and that allowed us to really expand the party and stuff. It’s become a kind of community event for the island. They’ve done a wonderful thing. Now I can just concentrate on handling the race and let them promote it and plan the party and everything else.”

Fulmer thanked the committee for all their hard work and said local artist Ann Eason has made the race special by donating unique ceramic awards for the triumphant runners. “Most people who participate in these things don’t want another little plastic gold cup,” he said. “They have plenty. These are really nice.”

On May 7, county commissioners voted unanimously to approve a resolution recognizing the Sizzler for its benefit to the community as it raises money for the Franklin County Humane Society.

Co-chairs Fulmer and Bob Landiss predict this year’s Sizzler will be bigger and better than ever.

Start training now for the 5K race and one-mile Fun Run to be held Saturday, August 10 at 6 p.m. The Sizzler, sponsored by the Tate's Hell Track Club, is notorious for the hot humid conditions experienced by participating runners.

Deadline for preregistration is Aug. 8 and the cost is $25, or you can register the day of the event for $30. T-shirts may not be available for those registering on the day of the event. There is a $10 student rate for cross country teams.

The Fun Run begins at 5:30 p.m. followed by the 5K race at 6 p.m. The post-race party and awards will begin around 6:30 p.m. at Lighthouse Park. There will be unique awards given out to overall male and female, Masters, Grand Masters, Senior Masters, and all standard age group winners. Awards will be three-deep for each age group for the 5K.

This race is a benefit for the Franklin County Humane Society and is produced by The Tate's Hell Track Club.

The sizzler is seeking cash donations to support the event as well as in-kind donations for the post race party. Gift items like visors, coupons, gift cards, water bottles, and koozies are needed for 450 goodie bags.

Also needed are 40 cases of bottled water, 500 14-ounce cups, 500 9-ounce cups, 800 plastic forks and knives, 1,000 paper plates and paper napkins, 175 pounds of ice, 150 pounds new potatoes, 125 pounds Andouille sausage, 240 ears of corn, 185 pounds extra-large Gulf shrimp, 1,200 pieces of dessert, three gallons cocktail sauce, one case Old Bay seasoning, three kegs or 25 cases of beer, 10 cases of soda, 14 1.5-liter bottles of red and white wine and red beans and rice for 350.

Branded items are OK. If you want to help, call Bud Hayes at 323-0138.

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