Chamber of Commerce holds 15th annual Jackrabbit Run

By BRITTANY FHOLER 
Cove Leader-Press 

More than 200 people and some of their furry friends participated in the 15th annual Jackrabbit Run 10K/5K race held Saturday morning, starting at Ogletree Gap. 
Nolanville resident Amy Simecek ran with her dog, Frederick, a one-year-old standard poodle. Although Simecek is an experienced runner, Frederick has only been running in races since the racing season started in January. 
Simecek had to take a three-year break from running due to health problems but is back to running again. 
 “I’m able to run, so I do,” she said. 
She said she debated on whether to bring Frederick to the race and decided to go ahead since the rain had cleared. She said she wasn’t worried about herself running the steep hills that make up a portion of the course. 
“My thing was this is the first time I’ve run the race with him, so I was fearful with how I would do on the hills,” Simecek said. “I didn’t want to slip and fall. Just with my health, I can’t fall, so but he did fine.”
Simecek explained that Frederick knows what it means when she says “walk”, “run” and “slow down”. He handled the race just fine, she added. 
“I’m just glad that I can be out here and run again,” Simecek said, adding that Copperas Cove always puts on a good race. 
The Copperas Cove Chamber of Commerce has taken the race, which acts as the kickoff event for this weekend’s 33rd annual Rabbit Fest to be held at the Copperas Cove City Park this week, Thursday through Sunday at City Park. Gate hours will be 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. Thursday and Friday, 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday, and 9 a.m. to4 p.m. Sunday. Entry is $5 per carload. 
The race has acted as a fundraiser for Hope Pregnancy Center in past years, with a percentage of the race proceeds donated to the center, but this year, runners had the option of donating to Hope Pregnancy Center when they pre-registered online. 
As of press time, nearly $100 had been raised through runners donating individually. 
Menard explained that the name Jackrabbit Run 4 Hope, and the proceeds being donated, were a result of the Hope Pregnancy Center helping host the race. With the Chamber of Commerce taking the reins again, the name has been changed to Jackrabbit Run. 
 “We are definitely still leaving that option [to donate] on there because we definitely want to help that organization and still provide them some support if we can,” Menard said. 
The Jackrabbit Run joins two other races hosted by the Chamber, including the Summer Run to Fun held in June and the Gallop or Trot held in September. 
“This race is definitely the toughest out of the three that we host, and that’s just because of the terrain and the hills,” Menard said. 
The Jackrabbit Run is also the only race that offers a 10K as well as a 5K. 
Awards were given for the Overall Male and Female winners for the 10K as well as first, second and third place for the different age groups for male and female. The Overall Male for the 10K was Mohamed Vasquez, with a time of 38:04.8. The Overall Female for the 10K was Tania Figueroa with a time of 47:58.6. 
The race has seen as many as 300 runners before, which is something the Chamber of Commerce is working on trying to get the numbers of participants back up, Menard said. 
The Chamber of Commerce will be partnering with Texas Runner Triathlete to promote the races throughout the entire state of Texas, as well as having all of the races sanctioned through the USA Track and Field next year, she added. 
“That’ll put it just a little bit more on a national level as far as promoting it and gaining those runners that compete not just within the state of Texas but do the run series on a national level,” Menard said. 
The races are currently part of the CenTex Race Series, with the Central Texas Race Association. With the new partnerships, the chamber is looking to target more participants and increase the races’ exposure, putting the events on a tourism level. 
The support from Copperas Cove residents, and surrounding areas, has been great, Menard said. 
“Copperas Cove has a lot of runners, and they definitely look forward to these races, and we’re thankful for that and that they enjoy coming out,” she added. 

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Copperas Cove, TX 76522
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