The running race seasons in Charleston basically are broken into summer/fall and winter/spring, with about a two month hiatus in the middle of summer and about a month during Christmastime.

Granted, there are races during the breaks, but nothing too serious.

While this isn’t formalized, there are bookend races for each season. The Charleston Marathon get things rolling on the Martin Luther King Jr. weekday, and Floppin’ Flounder 5K in mid-June is the last truly competitive race before the heat of summer sets in.

Race for the ARK

The kickoff to the summer/fall season comes Saturday with the 14th annual Race for the ARK 5K in Summerville. The event, which is being sponsored this year by Thrivent Financial, raises money for The ARK, a Summerville-based nonprofit that provides support to families and other caregivers of people suffering from Alzheimer’s disease and related dementia.

The 5K run and walk winds through historic downtown Summerville. The 5K starts at 7:45 a.m. and the 1-mile starts at 8:45 a.m.

Runners who set new course records for males and females will win a $100 cash prize.

The race also features a Corporate Challenge. Companies can field a team of five runners for $350; the team with the overall best time takes home the traveling trophy for the year.

The Lowcountry Youth Challenge is an early season competition for local high school cross country teams and other sports teams who want to compete. The cost is $25 per runner, or $125 per team. Youth runners receive medals and can compete for age group prizes.

Late registration and packet pickup is noon-6 p.m. Friday or before the race Saturday.

5K times 10

When the Race for The ARK starts, about 100 people will be wrapping up the first of 10 5Ks in Ridgeland.

On Saturday, the Lowcountry Ultras Homestead 10 x 5K will feature one 5K every hour, on the hour, from 7 a.m.-4 p.m. It is the latest “ultra,” defined as anything longer than a marathon, to come from an unlikely hub of ultra running in South Carolina, the Beaufort-Ridgeland area.

Tim Waz, founder of Lowcountry Ultras, says he expected about 20 people to do the event, but in fact the event’s not only reached its cap of 100, but nearly 50 more are on a waiting list.

It apparently is an ultra for ultra newbies. Waz says about 60 percent of those registered have never run an ultra. By comparison to his other races, such as the Cremator 50-miler and Mad Marsh 50K, about 30 percent are newbies.

“I think the appeal of this race is that you don’t have to carry cumbersome gear for hydration and food during the run,” says Waz, adding that the event originated as a training run for ultra runners.

Best of Summer party

Air & Earth, an outdoor store in Mount Pleasant focused on board sports, is celebrating its 10th anniversary 7-10 p.m. Saturday with a return of its Best of Summer party to raise money for cystic fibrosis.

The genetic disorder affects the lungs, as well as the pancreas, liver and intestine, and causes thick, viscous secretions and scarring. It causes difficulty with breathing and frequent lung infections.

Last year’s Best of Summer event drew about 500 people and raised about $15,000 for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.

Admission is free but $5 raffle tickets will make attendees eligible to win iPad tablets, GoPro cameras and Palm Head surfboards and paddleboards, among other gear. In all, about 10 items worth $500 or more each, will be raffled off. You don’t have to be present to win.

Special Olympics

Locally owned kayak company Folbot, pronounced fol bot, is sponsoring the annual Special Olympics South Carolina Kayaking Invitational 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturday at James Island County Park pond.

Athletes from Columbia, Rock Hill and Charleston will compete on different levels. The Charleston Chargers have trained for six years with the guidance of coach Bill Johnson and Diana Belknap of the Charleston County Park and Recreation Commission.

Athletes learn all aspects of kayaking, paddling, turns and, the favorite, rolling the boat. It is essential for all kayakers to know how to exit the boat if it were to overturn.

Lynn Hunt, director of the S.C. Special Olympics tri-county area, encourages people to volunteer or be on hand to cheer the athletes at the event. To volunteer, email her at

Reach David Quick at 937-5516 or