Mitch Varnes, Cocoa Beach native and ardent surfer could very easily be a top spokesperson for athletic footwear. Move over Usain Bolt (just playing, he’s amazing), Mitch Varnes has been a top proponet for people strapping on their sneakers and heading outdoors for some healthy competition running, 15 years and counting.
No stranger to success, the 10 year voice veteran of NASA’s shuttle launch countdown earned some of his fame and event producing prowess during the space program’s heyday. Working in Public Affairs, Varnes traveled the country promoting the accomplishments of the program’s space elite. Though his professional trajectory kept his starched collar buttoned high, his eyes never left the coastline. His passion for surf and the great outdoors anchored him here, in Brevard county, where his prolific second chapter in life cemented him as one of Florida’s greatest advocate/producers of outdoor competitive events, to date. Thus, the launching of SmoothRunning.org, a “producer of several of the most prestigious and unique endurance events in East Central Florida.”
Varnes & his Smooth Running team have produced over 100 massively successful events around the county. His goal, by large, is to raise awareness for our area, showcase Brevard county and our space coast, but also mainly to “have fun.” He says of his endurance events, “We try to make running fun, because running isn’t fun. So you’ve got to make it fun.” At any one of his events, in addition to beautiful waterfront courses, enthusiasts can expect to find a variety of music, food and beer, thanks to one of their main sponsors, the Florida Beer Company.
Mitch Varnes’ list of accomplishments are long and distinguished. He and his team bring thousands of people each year to our beautiful coastline to participate in healthy lifestyle activities such as marathons, triathlons, pro surfing, kite-boarding, volleyball, SUP & kayak fishing competitions. Smooth Runnings has also earned the esteemed title of one of the “greenest producers of running and endurance events.” Mitch boasts, “We take pride in our events for their sustainability.” He then counted off the numerous efforts made to protect our planet through planning, recycling, composting and area restoration.
He’s a people mover, an activist, a father, husband, surfer and out and out really great dude. We couldn’t think of anyone better to highlight in this year’s sport issue. For more on Mitch Varnes, Smooth Runnings, and events coming soon, visit www.smoothrunning.org