Alachua Lake was once so large that steamers crossed it regularly, bringing citrus and other goods to and from Gainesville. Around 100 years ago, nature changed her mind and the Alachua Sink opened up, draining the entire lake within a matter of days. This left thousands of fish flopping on the ground and stranded the Chakala steamer on dry land. The lake served as an active transport for steamers for about 15 years before, for unknown reasons the sink became unblocked. In the Sept. 14th, 1891 issue of the Providence Journal it was written, “About four weeks ago (the waters) commenced going down with surprising rapidity, the lake falling about 8 feet in 10 days, until now nothing is left of Alachua Lake but the memory of it.”
We want to keep that memory alive. In the Alachua Lake ½ Marathon you will run along the beautiful paved Hawthorne Trail and enjoy the surroundings as we reminisce on what once was a vast lake that helped to serve the Gainesville community. Even though the lake and its inhabitants are no longer present, you will get to witness the new ecosystem and wildlife that the Prairie has created.