At first glance, the fast and loud sport of NASCAR racing might seem like an unlikely match for the health-and-environment crowd. But Myrtle Beach Speedway's hosting of the 10th Annual Earth Day Music Fest and Diabetes 5K is proof that the two worlds can peacefully coexist with a special event that celebrates the planet and raises funds for a worthy cause.
Scheduled for Saturday, April 29, at Myrtle Beach Speedway on Highway 501, about 10 miles from Long Bay Resort, the Earth Day Music Fest and Diabetes 5K combine a road race that benefits the local chapter of the American Diabetes Association with an all-day concert featuring some of the top local and regional music acts. Patrons can race around the track in the morning and rock around the clock all afternoon in the infield of the historic Myrtle Beach Speedway.
The action-packed day begins bright and early for race participants, who are encouraged to attend a Friday evening gathering at the Grumpy Monk bar & grill near the Myrtle Beach Speedway to pick up race packets and mix and mingle with fellow runners. But be sure to return to your comfortable oceanfront room at Long Bay Resort early Friday night and get plenty of rest, because late registration opens promptly at 6:30 a.m. Saturday, and the starting gun for the 3.1-mile race fires at 8 a.m.
In addition to raising funds to fight diabetes, participants get to experience the unique opportunity to run around the half-mile, slightly graded asphalt oval in the tread marks of famous NASCAR drivers past and present. Celebrating its 60th season of local, regional and national stock-car racing, Myrtle Beach Speedway has welcomed local racing fans to watch four generations of Pettys (Lee, Richard, Kyle and Adam) and three generations of Earnhardts (Ralph, Dale Sr. and current NASCAR superstar Dale Jr.), as well as big names like Jeff Gordon and Tony Stewart, in action.
But the speedway turns over the keys to a different kind of racing on Saturday, with runners completing the Diabetes 5K and celebrating their accomplishments with fellow participants. The Health & Wellness Expo opens immediately following the race, featuring a variety of fitness, health awareness and education-related vendors. The festivities continue with an awards ceremony, where top-finishing runners in each race division will receive their awards, and the first 150 finishers will receive medals for completing the race. The event also offers food, drinks and, most of all, music.
The Earth Day Music Fest features four regional bands – Sideways Derby, The Velcros, Paleo Sun and Oceans Orange – playing a wide selection of rock, blues, reggae and more on the main stage. The message of protecting the planet for future generations will be the theme of the day, as environmental groups will be on hand to share information about how to do your part. The fun-filled day wraps up at 5 p.m., giving you just enough time to take a soak in the hot tub, enjoy a relaxing evening on your balcony and get some well-deserved rest back at Long Bay Resort.
The entry fee for the race and/or the music festival is $25 (through April 15), which includes entry to all companion events, with all proceeds from both the race and the music festival going to benefit The Wellness Council for South Carolina in its efforts to educate people about the disease, assist those affected by it, and help find a cure in the future. For registration and sponsorship information, visit http://www.wellnesscouncilsc.org/.