Chamber hosts annual Raising Cane’s Gallop or Trot 5K walk/run
By BRITTANY FHOLER
The rain stopped in time for the Copperas Cove Chamber of Commerce’s annual Raising Cane’s Gallop or Trot 5K walk/run Saturday morning at the Copperas Cove City Park.
The chip-timed CenTex Racing Series event started at 8:00 a.m. from the Copperas Cove Civic Center, with the course turning left on W. Ave B and continuing onto Courtney Avenue, Dekort Circle, N. 23rd St and Fairbanks before winding back to Courtney Avenue and W. Ave B and through City Park, finishing back at the Start line.
Awards were given to the top three finishers in each age and gender bracket, with a special award was presented to the overall male and female winners.
This year is the first year for Raising Cane’s to sponsor the race, according to Shaun Smith, general manager of the Copperas Cove location. Raising Cane’s manned all the water stations and provided free neon yellow commemorative Dri-Fit shirts to the first 200 participants of the race. They also donated the gift baskets to the two overall male and female winners.
“We are all about the community,” Smith said of Raising Cane’s involvement. “We just give back, give back, give back. This is kind of our way to promote that healthy lifestyle as well as give back to everybody, to be involved.”
The Gallop or Trot 5K started 16 years ago, according to Liz Sherman, the office manager for the Chamber of Commerce. In addition to Raising Cane’s, other sponsors of the race included HEB, Cove Family Dental, Keith Ace Hardware, Metroplex and Carlson Law Firm, who is a sponsor of the entire CenTex Racing Series.
The Chamber hosts three races each year, with the Jackrabbit Run 4 Hope in May, the HEB Summer Run to Fun in June and the Raising Cane’s Gallop or Trot in September.
The Gallop or Trot is the easiest 5K race in Copperas Cove because it doesn’t have the bigger hills that other races do, according to J.C. Stubbs, chairman of the Chamber of Commerce.
More than 200 racers had pre-registered before the event and 209 total racers were listed on the results page. Last year’s race saw 195 participants, according to Sherman.
“We’ve had a great response,” Sherman said. “I think having the [Star Group- Veterans Helping Veterans] Health Fair here on the same day, the Star Group-Veterans Helping Veterans hosting that, kind of adds to what we’re doing today, you know, as far as the health and fitness part of it, so I think that’s great.”
The Chamber hosts races like the Gallop or Trot because they want to have events that the community can be a part of while also encouraging people to be healthy and “to get our visitors to run through our city and see the different areas that we have within our city,” Sherman added.
Racers were escorted through the course by officers on motorcycles from the Copperas Cove Police Department. The first person to cross the finish line was Gian Mikel Pulido, 15, who finished with a chip time of 18:09.6, following just a few yards behind the motorcycles towards the end.
The first woman to cross the finish line, and the sixth person overall, was Drea Gibson, 33, who finished with a chip time of 20:54.3. Gibson’s husband, Jeremiah, and their two daughters, Annabelle, 1, and Faith, five-months, waited for her at the finish line.
Gibson shared that this was the first race in Copperas Cove she had participated in but that she loved to run. She tried out for the Army Ten-Miler 10-mile race held in Washington, D.C. next month in an effort to motivate herself after having her youngest daughter, she said. Getting back into shape has been challenging with an infant and no sleep, Gibson added.
When they first moved to Cove, she was pregnant with her youngest, but Gibson said she thought the race was fun.
“I’ve been wanting to run more races in Cove but I’m just trying to get back into it,” Gibson said.
Gibson said she had hoped to see more improvement in her running time but was looking forward to next year’s race and mentioned the possibility of running with her daughters in their stroller. The course itself had hills that Gibson called expected but also unexpected.
“There’s a little tiny hill right when you finish,” Gibson said. “Going uphill at the end of a race is always very demotivating, but you know the end is near, so push through, right?”
Nicole Brenneis, 42, and her daughter Michelle Brenneis Carter, 23, ran the race together and crossed the finish line holding hands, with times of 40:17.2 and 40:18.
Brenneis said she normally runs to improve her time and obtain a place but this time, she chose to motivate her daughter and run for support. Brenneis said she enjoyed running the hills and called the down hill parts of the course “freebies” while the uphill portions provided more cardio.
Carter is used to running on a treadmill and not on an incline, so this race was more of an obstacle to her, she said.
Her mother also pushed her to keep running instead of adopting a run, walk, run pace and made it more competitive, Carter said.
“It makes me just feel real good that I can help her like that,” Brenneis said. “I would do anything for her.”