Fast Start Track & Field Invitational: 12 Years Running

In its 12th year, the Fast Start Track & Field Invitational has become a January tradition for children attending elementary schools in Winter Park, Maitland and Eatonville. On January 21, almost 800 students participated in this year’s Fast Start 12, many of whom had been preparing for the event since returning to school in the fall. The event is a chance for kids to develop or enhance their love of running and long jumping—no matter what a child’s size, ability or disability. And everyone gets a ribbon.

An Aloma Elementary student competes in the shot put event.

Fast Start is the brain child of Scott Millson, a former runner who grew up participating in a similar event in north Florida. He wanted the same for local youth, so he created Fast Start.

While participation in Fast Start is limited to students enrolled in Aloma, Audubon Park, Brookshire, Cheney, Dommerich, Hungerford, Lake Sybelia and Lakemont elementary schools, it is just as important to Fast Start alumni – high school and middle school students — who often return to help with the event.  This year, Fast Start had nearly 50 volunteers. The overwhelming majority of those volunteers were high schools students from Winter Park High School and Trinity Preparatory School.

“It truly has become a student-led event,” Millson said.  “I’ll always be involved, but I love having Fast Start alumni help run the event.”

This year, students had an additional incentive to keep running after Fast Start — The Winter Park Consortium elementary school with the most runners registered for Track Shack’s Smile Mile race received a $500 prize from the Track Shack Youth Foundation.

Local elementary students compete in a Fast Start running event.

Fast Start 13 is tentatively scheduled for January 27, 2018, at Showalter Field in Winter Park.