Put on your running shoes and head out to the Downtown South Boston Farmers’ Market Saturday morning for a 5K run/ walk. The “Sprint to Spring Market 5K” is open to community members of all ages.

“It’s a free run/ walk for the community. We want to encourage both vendors and customers to come out and kick off the season at the farmers’ market,” said Megan Throckmorton-Harris, Downtown South Boston Farmers’ Market manager, adding the 5K would be the first of many events at the market this spring and summer.

Registration for the 5K starts at 8 a.m. at the farmers’ market at 300 Broad St., and the race begins at 9 a.m. The 5K participants will make their way through the heart of South Boston from the farmers’ market to Sentara Halifax Regional Hospital before heading back to the market.

Throckmorton-Harris said she plans to make the 5K an annual event. Last year’s 5K was canceled because of COVID-19.

In the farmers’ market manager’s view, all participants in the 5K run are winners, so everyone completing the race will receive a four-cell pack of plants from Tuck Farms while supplies last.

In addition, a market vendor, Ben Capozzi of Broad Shoulders Farm, is giving away freshly baked mini muffins to all race participants.

A downtown South Boston business owner, Anne Eakes of The Busy Bean, has sweetened the deal for 5K participants. She is offering a free beverage to the runners during her Saturday business hours from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m.

Special prizes are in store for the top three finishers in the race. The top prize is a month’s membership to Adams Total Fitness. The second-place prize is a $20 gift card to Cheers Nutrition. The third-place prize will be a $10 gift certificate to any business in downtown South Boston.

Rebekah Slabach, a coach with Girls Who Run — a physical fitness/ wellness program for girls in the third through fifth grade — said she looks forward to running in Saturday’s 5K along with the other coaches, and hopes some of the girls in the program will join in the run, as well.

“We’re excited to model what we’re encouraging our girls to do – exercise. By us doing the run, we’re hoping that the young girls will be encouraged to do it, too,” Slabach said. “It will be a good first run experience for the girls in their hometown in a familiar setting.”

Slabach added she personally looks forward to getting out in the warm, spring weather doing one of the activities she enjoys the most – running.

“It’s fun and it’s healthy,” she said.

Slabach, who also is Halifax County’s Agriculture and Natural Resources Agent for the Virginia Cooperative Extension, looks forward to browsing the market vendors’ offerings after the 5K race, as well. She noted that the COVID-19 pandemic has driven people to seek out healthy, local food options at reasonable prices, and because of that, the Downtown South Boston Farmers’ Market and the Halifax Farmers’ Market both have grown in the past year.

“Both of our farmers’ markets have grown with community support,” Slabach commented. “It’s great to see community support for all our local businesses, especially agriculture.”

Customers at the market Saturday can look forward to a wide variety of offerings from vendors, Throckmorton-Harris shared. Among the vendors are Broad Shoulders Farm offering eggs and muffins, Country Roads Flower Farm, offering baked goods, Paige Fallen of Paige’s Produce, offering produce, baked goods and hanging baskets, Ralph Tuck, offering vegetable starters (plants), Once Upon a Time, offering soaps, blankets and aroma beads, Whitt Hemp Farms, offering CBD oil and CBD-infused products, Pumpkin & Bugs Bakery offering baked goods, Harris Family Farm offering eggs, and Busy Bee Farms offering meat.

The Mama Crockett’s Cider Donuts truck also will be on site, offering up tasty treats to market customers. The farmers’ market is open until noon Saturday.

Miranda Baines is a staff writer for The Gazette-Virginian. Contact her at mbaines@gazettevirginian.com.

Miranda Baines is a staff writer for The Gazette-Virginian. Contact her at mbaines@gazettevirginian.com.