Annual H-E-B Summer Run to Fun 5k has more than 100 participants
By PAMELA GRANT
The sun beat down on dozens of runners and walkers lined up at Copperas Cove City Park in preparation to participate in the annual H-E-B Summer Run to Fun 5k.
The Copperas Cove Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Bureau hosted the race which was a chip timed 5k and part of the Cen-Tex Race Series. Each year, Copperas Cove holds four Cen-Tex Races. Three of those races are hosted by the Copperas Cove Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Bureau, and Copperas Cove Parks and Recreation hosts one Cen-Tex Race. Due to Covid protocols, H-E-B was not present at this year’s event; however, they were still the primary sponsor with a $3,000 donation for the event and also supplied fruit and water for the participants.
170 registered for this year’s 5k, with 40 of those choosing to participate virtually. Last year, the run was virtual only and had only 67 participants. Alicia Menard, the interim president of the Copperas Cove Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Bureau, said that pre-Covid, they had an average of between 200 and 215 participants.
“We are super, super excited,” said Menard. “The chamber industry in general thrives off being able to socialize and being able to get people together…the fact that we can provide an event for the community to enjoy and, of course, bringing people to Copperas Cove. Overall, we’re ecstatic. We’re so happy to be getting back to normal and being able to bring people together, showcase Copperas Cove, promote our city, and provide something fun for everybody to do.”
The first to cross the finish line for this year’s Summer Run to Fun was Efrain Hernandez, with a time of 18:50.0. In second place was Cade Perry with a time of 18:57.6. Third place was Shawn Griffin with a time of 20:16.0. The fastest female finisher was Thea Barragan with a time of 21:31.4.
“It was a little rough,” said Hernandez. “We got lost a couple times…you end up running a little more than you wanted to.”
Hernandez and Perry both got a little bit turned around during the race. Hernandez attributed it to being a bit hot and tired, especially towards the end of the run. He added that nobody else seemed like they got lost. Hernandez and Perry were neck and neck for a lot of the race.
Hernandez said that he still had a lot of fun. He has run in at least five races in the Cen-Tex Race Series, participating in most of them alongside his fiancé, Denisse Lopez
“I’ve been running my whole life,” said Hernandez. “We do it to stay in shape and improve as much as we can each time.”
Fastest female, Thea Barragan, said that she enjoyed the run.
“It was good. Hilly, but not bad,” said Barragan. “It was a little hot.”
Barragan said that running helps to relax her and that she has already participated in six races in the Cen-Tex Series. She said that she runs a lot of half marathons and added that completing the races gives her a feeling of accomplishment.
Suzanne Davis was the second fastest female with a time of 23:22.6. Davis is from the DFW area and said that this was her first 5k run in the Central Texas area.
“This is a really good race. It’s a good course. It’s hilly,” said Davis. “This is not a course where you are going to get a PR to qualify for Boston or anything. No, this is a training 5k where you run your best time to know what you can do on hills.”
Davis said that this was her first in-person 5k since Covid. She said it was a bit painful, but in a good way. She said that she has been participating virtually and running on her own, but it’s just not the same. She said she was so happy to be getting back to normal and being able to participate in 5ks with others again.