The Veterans 5K and 10K Walk and Run on Monday morning brought out more competitors than ever as nearly 600 people gathered on Main Street in front of City Hall to run or walk in the race. Registration for the event closed at 6:45 a.m., and the cap gun sounded off shortly after to signal the start of the race.
Even though the morning was frigid, runners were warming up their legs well before the beginning of the run. Groups of runners gathered together, and began to file into start, as Donny Moore, the city’s Parks and Leisure Services Director, welcomed everyone and explained the route for each event.
The 5K route, for runners and walkers, took competitors down to Henderson Avenue where the made a right down to Plano Street, then another right down to Olive Avenue and back up to Main Street where the race began. The 10K route, exclusive to runners only, took the competition down Main Street to Reed Avenue, a right to Plano Street then down to Oak Avenue, and a right wrapped it back up on Main Street.
Competitors were given number bibs, each equipped with a chip to determine each individuals running time. Volunteers from local high schools, Porterville College and sports teams took their positions along each route to cheer on the runners and block traffic when needed
Once all of the people competing in the run and walk were ready to start, Moore asked Justin Witt to sing the National Anthem. He then introduced Seth Ishida, who acted as this year’s honorary race starter.
Ishida is a local veteran who spent five years in the Army as a Counterintelligence Special Agent and three years in the National Guard while he taught. He currently teaches at Monache High School, where he also coaches track and cross country. He has been with the school for the past 12 years.
As Moore readied the runners with “Runners take your mark,” Ishida let a round off out of a cap gun, and they were off at 7:30 a.m. sharp.
About 10 minutes into the race, Moore called for all the children who wished to participate in the free Kids Race to line up near the finish line. A handful of children shot out into the street and were lined up about a block away from the finish line. Grouped into two separate groups, one boy group and one girl group, the young participants were all smiles and giggles as they raced each other to the finish line. Each child received a medal at the end.
About 15 minutes after the race had started, the first competitor in the 5K run crossed the finish line. Jesus Salas Jr. crossed the finish line after running the 5K in 17 minutes 28 seconds. Second place went to Seth Ishida at 18 minutes 50 seconds, and third place for the 5K overall went to Angel Roman, who completed the 5K in 18 minutes 52 seconds.
The 10K finish was a close one with only 30 seconds separating first and second. Jogging in for the first place in the 10K was Rafael Hurtado for his 36 minute 40 second run, and second went to Gabriel Collazo for his 37 minute 10 second finish. Third place was awarded to Jacob Flores who timed in at 38 minutes and 26 seconds.
Although the walk was only a 5K, the first three overall finishers were awarded medals. Walking over the finish line at 33 minutes 1 second and clenching first place was Yesse Torres. Right behind him earning himself second for his 37 minute 44 second walk was Don McCarthy, and securing third for their 38 minute 10 second walk was Stephen Rose.
Moore thanked the event sponsors many times throughout the event. The 2019 Veterans Run and Walk was sponsored by Bank of the Sierra, Rethought Reborn Media, Sierra View Medical Center, Papa Murphy’s, Eagle Mountain Casino, Carroll’s Tire Warehouse, Culligan, Imperial Ambulance, Porterville Police Department, Pro-PT and Planet Fitness.
For a complete list of results, and a breakdown for each age category, visit www.rtsracetiming.com/results-2019.html