First came the athletes, the hard-core runners who view the 5-kilometer trek to and from Frank Eaton Memorial Park in North Perris as a mere workout.
Then came the novice runners, the sometimes athletes who sought a good workout on an idyllic morning.
Next were the families wanting to share quality time with friends, spouses and their children. Some even pushed baby strollers holding the youngest participants.
Finally came the munchkins. Enough said.
All contributed to the success of the second annual 5K run to raise funds for the Boys & Girls Club of Perris, which provides after-school activities, mentorship programs, homework support and recreational opportunities for children 5 to 17 years old.
The City of Perris has been a proud sponsor for the club since it opened three years ago.
Jose Ramos, chairman of the club’s board of directors, said more than 200 people took part in the second annual run to support the Boys & Girls Club. Club organizers set a goal of $5,000 for the fundraiser.
The 2016 race theme was “rock the vote” to encourage citizens to get out and cast ballots in the national election. Ramos praised the City of Perris for its constant support for the Perris club.
“It helps bring the community together,” Ramos said.
Perris Mayor Daryl Busch and City Councilmen David Starr Rabb and Mark Yarbrough attended the 5K festivities. Rabb and Yarbrough also participated in the action.
Busch noted that the 5K run supports the City’s ongoing Live Well Perris healthy-eating active-living campaign, which has encouraged thousands of Perris residents to exercise and make more informed food choices.
“We’re glad to see you are here,” Busch told the crowd. “It’s nice to see all of you out here supporting this special event and supporting Live Well Perris. We know how healthy living makes for a healthy community.”
Rabb, who ran in the novice event, noted the route took place over various sorts of terrain—pavement, grass, dirt and gravel.
“I am glad the City was able to coordinate this event,” Rabb said. “It’s a great event for the Boys and Girls Club, which does a lot of great things for our community.
Yarbrough made it through the course without training.
“Not bad for a grandpa running,” he said afterward. “It’s a wonderful event. It’s about fitness. It’s about living well.”
First to complete the course was Rancho Verde High School cross-country runner Raymond Franco, 16, who finished in 18 minutes, 7 seconds. Afterwards, he said the 3.2-mile run “was a nice jog.” He usually runs between 8 and 10 miles daily to keep in shape.
“I ran a nice easy pace, it was more or less a practice,” Raymond said. “I appreciate the City working hard and the volunteers who helped to support the run. They did a really good job.”
Cross-country teammate Adrian Lopez, 16, finished fourth, using the run to help rehab his injured left knee.
“It’s been difficult coming back from injury,” Adrian said. “This gave me nice workout that was not too challenging.”
Marisela Montes completed the run even though she lugged a little extra weight—50 pounds or so. She pushed a stroller carrying her daughter, Julianna, 2. She completed the course then took it on again a second time.
“I’m a runner,” Montes said. “It was a tough run but it was fun. I am a big supporter of this community. Perris is a good place. I am happy to support the Boys and Girls Club.”
Other runners included a contingent from Perris Explorer Post 522, who ran the course accompanied by Perris Police Chief Brandon Ford. That contingent started out as one unit and finished as one. They crossed the finish line together.