Ernie Rodriguez makes sure his adopted 3-year-old son Carter Allan Rodriguez stays active, so when the chance came for his son to participate in a 5K run, Ernie thought why not.
“We thought might as well try it,” he said.
Ernie's son was able to complete his first 5K run on Saturday at the Pumpkin Run held at Clovis' Cottonwood Park. Carter finished 17th in the 0-10 age division in just a little more than 1 hour, seven minutes.
“I would say he was probably the youngest,” Ernie said about the runners in the event. “The ones we saw were a lot older.”
Ernie and his father-in-law, Jeff Paranek ran the race with Carter. Ernie said Carter ran and walked during the event on his way to finishing the 5K course.
The course for the race was all paved and was virtually all flat with the exception of one incline that Ernie estimated was 30 to 40 steps. Ernie said Carter handled the incline just fine. “He's a tough little guy,” Ernie said.
While Ernie said Carter was born prematurely, he added Carter continues to grow. “He's getting big,” Ernie said.
Ernie said Carter wants to participate in another 5K event and the plan is for him to participate in another one in November, with Porterville's Veterans Day Run on November 11 a possibility. “He loved it,” said Ernie about Carter participating in his first 5K.
Ernie helps coach baseball at Granite Hills High School and Carter spends a great deal of time with Ernie in his activities. Ernie said he and his son also go walking every day.
“I try to involve him as much as I can,” said Ernie about his activities. “Growing up I was into sports a lot.”
“I'm super proud,” added Ernie about Carter finishing the 5K.