‘Pie guy’ Kevin Sweeny issues Thanksgiving challenge … for a good cause
Kevin Sweeny is an accomplished runner, but here's who beat him in last year's 5K.

Beat Sweeny in a 5K, win a pie.

Political consultant Kevin Sweeny, for the 17th straight year, has a Thanksgiving challenge for all comers.

The dare is simple: Beat Sweeny in a cross-country 5K and win a pie.

The “Shut Up and Run” race: a Thanksgiving morning 5K, starting at 8 a.m. in beautiful Treaty Park.

The event is for a good cause: to benefit St. Francis House, St. Johns County’s only privately funded homeless shelter.

For those who can give supplies for the shelter, there will be donation stations at the event.

FP caught up with Sweeny, who told us about the genesis of the pie giveaway tradition.

Seventeen years ago. he and the Ancient City Road Runners had what would be the first of these annual races, with just six first place prizes given out for various categories.

Sweeny, an avid runner whose personal best 5K is an economical 16:52, had a revelation.

“Why not give something back?”

The pie idea emerged from that, Sweeny said, then “exploded from there.”

“I became the Pie Guy,” Sweeny said.

Sweeny has embraced the shtick over the years, complete with Pie Guy t-shirts.

One has a message on the back: “If you can read this, no pie for you.”

This Thanksgiving, expect to see Sweeny starting off at the front, building a quick lead like the hare against the tortoise.

Soon enough, however, the field will catch him.

“Kids love it,” Sweeny says, noting that people try to trip him and to attempt other skulduggery to go home with a pastry.

Does it work?

“I’ve never gone home with a pie,” Sweeny noted.

“My idea to give out pies started as a way to give back to running and the running community and while this remains true, it has gained momentum (and inspired me to buy more and more pies each year) because of the kids who come out and lace up their shoes and try to win a pie! The kids make it extra special and fun,” Sweeny said.

Of course, the pies don’t bake themselves.

“I’ve ordered my pies every year from my friend Steve Dugan. He is a local manager at Publix — he is always on call for me to amend my order — even up to the last minute- and has also always helped me to load the pies into my car each year!”

Sweeny also lauds Sally Hawes, “the race director who is kind enough to allow me to be a part of her race.”

Hawes “is a big supporter of St. Francis House and with her tireless group of volunteers keeps this race a “must do” race each year.

At this writing Monday morning, just 20 spots remain in the race. For those seeking the commemorative t-shirt, pre-registration wraps Monday also. (However, there is day of race registration for those who can’t register ahead of time.)

For all race details, including pre-registration pick-up, check out the Shut Up and Run homepage.

A.G. Gancarski

A.G. Gancarski has written for FloridaPolitics.com since 2014. He is based in Northeast Florida. He can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter: @AGGancarski

One comment

  • ClifCurry

    November 26, 2019 at 4:07 pm

    Great job Kevin! VIVA FJA

Comments are closed.


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