In case you’re keeping score, tally this. There were 330 people registered for the Veterans Day 5K run and family fun run/walk, more than five times last year’s 64 entrants.
Cole Hebert, 5, and his dad, Jeff, were two of the first entries to finish the family fun run.
First place finisher Peoria resident Brad Rowley finished just a couple minutes ahead of Chris Hopkins from Prescott, who said this was the first 5K he had run in 12 years.
Shayna Weir of Avondale, who runs for Brooks Athletics, took home the first-place trophy in the women’s division.
Following the race, runners and their fans scarved down a continental breakfast, complete with juice or coffee, and watched the medal and trophy presentations. Around the Lakeview Room at Rio Vista Rec Center were several booths with information about veteran services available.
Wounded Warrior Project had its BelieveinHeroes.org banner across the back window. Adam Lane and Travis Tonne were handing out literature and brochures about the West Valley Vet Center, an organization formed during the Vietnam War. Started as a grassroots organization, when Vietnam veterans were hitting the streets and not being treated as warmly as today’s veterans returning home, WVVC helps veterans with mental health counseling. They address PTSD, depression, and anxiety, helping veterans get integrated back into the population. To learn more, visit www.vetcenter.va.gov, or call 877-927-8387.
During his address to runners as he handed out awards, Mayor Bob Barrett talked about his own experiences as a veteran of the Vietnam War, and also mentioned the work being done for veterans by Homes for the Troops to help them become homeowners. The first Homes for the Troops in Arizona will be built in Peoria for a double amputee.
The next race is the 25th Annual ARR Thanksgiving Day Classic at Peoria Sports Complex. The Peoria Diamond Club, Arizona Road Racers and hundreds of runners will participate in a 10-mile and 5K run and a one-mile fun run/walk.
Register online at www.active.com, or register the day of the event. ARR and Peoria Pantry will also collect toys for needy children and donations. For more information, call 602-954-8341, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.