More than 100 participate in H-E-B Summer Run to Fun
By PAMELA GRANT
More than 100 people braved the heat to participate in the annual H-E-B Summer Run to Fun 5K, hosted by the Copperas Cove Chamber of Commerce.
155 registered for Saturday’s event, with 133 participating at the race’s 8 a.m. start time with the others potentially taking part virtually.
The annual race is a chip-timed event and part of the Cen-Tex Race Series. Medals were given to the top three male and female finishers in each of 15 age brackets.
Jose Cantu was the first to cross the finish line with an impressive time of 21:26.2. James Quilenderino was hot on his heels with a time of 21:26.9 and Christian Matta finished in 3rd place with a time of 22:38.3.
Rebbeckah Reagan was the fastest female runner with a time of 26:59.2.
K’Dajah Williams, Tourism and Communications Coordinator for the Chamber of Commerce, said that she thinks that 5k runs are great. The 5k is geared towards promoting health and wellness in the community, encouraging people to stay active, and getting them outdoors.
“I think they are a lot of fun,” said Williams. “And everyone is very kind to each other and very supportive.”
Williams said that she enjoyed seeing all the families out at the event, especially the ones that dressed up.
Ed Lee, president of the Central Texas Runners Group, and most of the group’s 12 members who participated in Saturday’s race chose to dress up with a Hawaiian theme to make the event a bit more fun and to show unity among their team.
Lee said that he started the group to gather like-minded individuals to help push each other to be better. They even continued to push each other and work through the pandemic. He said that staying active in the group helped its members physically as well as mentally.
“We have walkers in our group as well. The key thing in our group is to stay active and accountable,” said Lee. “We share with each other our work outs and our accomplishments. We praise each other for what we do and encourage everyone to stay active. It doesn’t have to be running.”
“It’s the most use of cardio in a short period of time and offers lots of health benefits,” said Lee about running. Lee said that since he started running in 2006, his back, knees, and even hips have been in better shape. He said he’s never had any health issues since starting to run regularly.
Jose Cantu, age 16, was the fastest finisher in Saturday’s race.
“I felt very proud of myself,” said Cantu. Cantu said that he’d gone up a weight class for boxing and it made things a little bit tougher.
He added that he was particularly grateful for the competition that 2nd place finisher, James Quilenderino provided.
“I loved the sportsmanship of the guy behind me and the way he pushed me. Every time I got behind him, he would push me even harder to get back up there,” said Cantu. “It helped me be more competitive.”
James Quilenderino, 2nd place finisher, came from Liberty Hill for Saturday’s event, said that he too appreciated the challenge offered by his fellow competitor and even actively encouraged the younger runner trying to push them both to do their best.
Quilenderino said he loves running and being around others who love running too. He said he enjoys the process of getting ready for races and even travels to other places for races such as North Carolina, Utah, California, and now Texas.
Quilenderino moved here recently from California and said that the Texas heat hits a lot earlier, but he enjoys participating in races with conditions that might turn others away.
Quilenderino said his favorite thing to do is “Running when nobody else wants to do it. Running in the heat, running early in the morning, running late at night. When you are tired and don’t want to run and pushing yourself to run and when you finish and can congratulate yourself.” He said sometimes he’ll wait until it’s over 100 degrees to run and he even went to North Carolina just to be able to run in the much colder weather.
“I like to think I’m ready for anything,” said Quilenderino. “I put a smile on my face, and I do it.”