Mardi Gras in May 5K_ECC

May 22, 2021
Al Lopez Park - Tampa

Mardi Gras, or Fat Tuesday, refers to events of celebration.  Mardi Gras is French for “Fat Tuesday”, reflecting the practice of the last night of eating rich, fatty foods before the ritual Lenten sacrifices and fasting of the Lenten season.  Mardi Gras, as a celebration of life, nearly always involves the use of masks and costumes by its participants.  In New Orleans, for example, these often take the shape of fairies, animals, people from myths, or various Medieval costumes, as well as clowns and Indians.  However, many costumes today are simply elaborate creations of colored feathers and capes.

The Mardi Gras in May 5K will practice many of the traditions with costumes, food, music, and atmosphere.  We encourage everyone to “dress the part” and engage in the spirit of the event.  We will hand out neck beads, mask, and lots of fun.  We will host a costume contest following the completion of the 5K.   This promises to be a fun, festive, and entertaining event.  The Mardi Gras in May 5K is the next best thing to being in New Orleans.  Don’t miss out on this fun event.  The 5K will be a chipped timed event.  Awards will be provided to the Top 3 overall and in each age group.

Four Girls
Girls Running

January 1, 2021 – March 31, 2021:  $30.00
April 1, 2021 – April 30, 2021:  $35.00
May 1, 2021 – May 21, 2021:  $39.00
May 22, 2021:  $45.00

Participants will receive a personalized race bib with RFID timing chip, dri-fit shirt, beautiful finisher medal, and personalized race completion certificate.

*first 500 registrants are guaranteed full race participants package (personalized race bib, finisher medal, dri-fit shirt, and race completion certificate).

Thursday May 20, 2021 – Pre Race Packet Pickup – LOCATION & TIME TBD

Al Lopez Park
4810 N Himes Road
Tampa, FL   33614

6:45am  – Al Lopez Park gates open
7:00am – Mardi Gras themed music begins
Vendors open
7:55am – Announcements and National Anthem
8:00am – Start Mardi Gras in May 5K
9:15am – Mardi Gras in May 5K awards ceremony
9:45am - Mardi Gras in May costume contest
10:15am - Mardi Gras in May costume awards

Mardi Gras in May 5K Course Map

2021 Mardi Gras in May Course Map
ECC logo

Few organizations have as rich a history and legacy as the Early Childhood Council of Hillsborough County, Inc. (ECC).  ECC was formed as a grass roots organization in 1983 by a group of educators, social workers, parents and early childhood advocates.  Through the years, the ECC has always been focused on prevention and early intervention efforts with an emphasis on assisting young children with special needs.  The mission of ECC is to promote the healthy development of all young children because of the fundamental belief that “Every Child Counts”.

The vision for ECC is that each child, no matter the challenges, will enter Kindergarten healthy, happy and ready to learn.     Considered a leader among early childhood organizations, ECC is focused on evidence-based practice and longstanding research which chronicles the first five years of life as being the most critical in a child’s development.  The ECC partners with families and community organizations to bring about the best possible outcomes for children and families.


Mardi Gras in May 5K - COVID-19 SAFETY PROTOCOLS

Our goal is to host a fun, competitive, and exciting Mardi Gras in May 5K and put together an event that will bring joy, happiness, and memories to so many. Through all the fun and enjoyment our #1 focus is the safety of staff, volunteers, and participants. We have worked directly with several municipalities to ensure we are providing a safe environment and following all CDC COVID-19 protocols. The following is our Mardi Gras in May 5K COVID-19 race protocols:

- Masks must be worn at all time EXCEPT when on the race course. Once you are at the start/finish line you may remove your mask. You must carry your mask with you at all times. Once you cross the finish line and have completed the race, you must put your mask on.

- All event registration must be completed through our event website. You may register on race day but must do so through your computer, tablet, or phone. There will be no in person race day registration available on site. Participants must register 30 minutes prior to the start of their event.

Packet Pickup:
- We will host a pre-race packet pickup. We encourage everyone to utilize pre-race packet pickup to limit large gatherings on race day.
- We will have packet pickup available on race day. We will have a packet pickup table available. We will not allow large lines at packet pickup, to follow the social distancing guidelines, so provide yourself with plenty of time in case the line is long and there is a long wait.

- We will implement a rolling start.  We will have 4-6 participants starting every 10-15 seconds.  We will line everyone in position (proper spacing for social distance start) for the rolling start.  Be ready to start at 8:00am, as the rolling start will move quickly.
- Please wear your mask until the start of your race. You are not required to wear your mask while on the course. You will need to carry the mask at all time, even when on the course. Once you have completed the race, and crossed the finish line, you will be required to place your mask on.
- Water stations will NOT be available on course but will be available at the completion of the race. We will have a water station available past the finish line with bottled water. Please plan accordingly if you need on course water.

- Awards ceremony area is permitted for only those who have finished in the top 3 overall or top 3 of their age group. You may watch the awards from a location outside the awards ceremony and standing 6' away from others.

- You have a fever
- You have any symptoms of illness
- You currently have COVID symptoms or have had symptoms in the last 14 days
- You have tested positive within the last 14 days
- You have been exposed within 10 days and have not had two negative test since. Exposed is defined as being within 6 feet of a COVID-19 positive person or one who becomes positive, for 15 minutes

We know these are unique and challenging times for everyone. We are all doing our part to ensure a sense of "normal" while following safety guidelines to help put an end to COVID-19. Your support and participations is greatly appreciated and we hope the event will provide you with happiness along with a sense of achievement. We look forward to seeing you at the upcoming (safe) event!


Q:  Where is the Mardi Gras in May 5K benefitting Early Childhood Council of Hillsborough County being hosted?
A:  Al Lopez Park:  4810 N Himes Ave,  Tampa FL,  33614

Q:  Where should I park my car for the event?
A:  Entering from the gate on N Himes Ave, you follow the event signage to the parking lot.  The parking lot will be your second left upon entrance to the park.

Q:  What are the COVID-19 protocols for the event?
A:  Safety is our #1 focus.  We have worked with Hillsborough County to ensure the highest level of COVID safety for our staff, volunteers, and athletes.  Please see above as to the COVID-19 protocols that are in place for the event.

Q:  Am I required to wear a mask at the event?
A:  You will be required to wear your mask at all time (except when on the course during your event).  Staff and volunteers will enforce this policy.  Please wear your mask when not on the course.

Q:  What platform will be used for the race start?
A:  We will use a rolling start, where 4 athletes will start every 10 seconds.  We will have staging areas for athletes to get in line.  Our staff will organize the groups and keep everything flowing towards the start line.  We will announce when each group will start.

Q:  Can I wear headphones during the event?
A:  During the run/walk 5K you are permitted to wear headphones.

Q:  Where can I find the course map?
A:  Above is a copy of the 5K Course Map at Al Lopez Park.

Q:  Are there awards for this event?
A:  We will host an awards ceremony for the Top 3 finishers overall and top 3 finishers in each age group.

Q:  What is included in the participant race packet?
A:  Each participant will receive a personalized race bib (with their name, if they register by December 16th), dri-fit event shirt, finisher medal, and personalized race completion certificate.

Q:  Is there a pre-race packet pickup?
A:  Yes, we will announce the location and date once confirmed with the venue.

Q:  Can I register on race day?
A:  Yes, but you will be required to register online at  You can use your phone, computer, or tablet to register.  Once you register you can proceed to packet pickup to collect your race package.   Please note, those who register on race day are not guaranteed their shirt size.

Q:  Can I pickup my race packet on race day?
A:  Yes, please arrive early if you intend to pickup you packet on race day.   We will have a packet pickup station available on race day.  We will limit the amount of people in line at any given time.  Please note we will take your temperature when picking up your packet as part of the COVID-19 protocols.