With a 22-year history, one of the state's largest and best road races has a new race title for the new millennium: The Bank of America Gasparilla Distance Classic 15K/5K. Sponsored by the Gasparilla Distance Classic Association, the City of Tampa and Bank of America, the Feb. 12 event takes runners through downtown Tampa and along Bayshore Boulevard.

Race officials will commemorate the first race of the new millennium by presenting every 15K and 5K finisher with a finisher's medal. A full-color souvenir program presented by Publix Super Markets features race information, a course map, 1999 Bank of America Gasparilla Distance Classic Results, 1999 race photos and more.

For those who live in Tampa, St. Petersburg, Brandon, Sarasota, Bradenton, Lakeland or Orlando, the Gasparilla Distance Classic Association once again welcomes The Sports Authority as the "official" 5K/15K off-site registration and t-shirt/packet pick-uplocation. You may register for the 5K or 15K and/or pick-up your race t-shirt and packet at various The Sports Authority locations.

Late registration ($25) will be available at Gasparilla's race headquarters, the Tampa Convention Center, on Friday, February 11, 10 a.m.-9 p.m. and on race day, beginning at 6 a.m. On race day, 15K late registration will be available from 6-7:30 a.m. 5K late registration will begin at 7:30 a.m. and end promptly at 10 a.m. Registration forms have been mailed to 21,000 past participants.

In 1999, over 100 teams competed for the Corporate Cup Championship. The championship consists of four divisions: the 15K open, 15K women, 15K mixed and 15K Masters. Each team must have three to five full-time employees of the sponsoring company.

Always looking to the sport's future, the Association awards eight $1,000 scholarships to qualified cross country and track athletes from both Hillsborough and Pinellas county high schools. The Association funds four Hillsborough County cross country and track meets, and will co-sponsor Jr. Champ Track & Field, a children's summer developmental track program. Race officials enjoy introducing children to running as a way of staying in shape whether they are interested in competition or not.

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