A record 350 people took part in the third annual Run/Walk Oct. 28 to raise funds for the Boys & Girls Club of Perris.
Perris Mayor Michael Vargas and City Clerk Nancy Salazar represented the City at Frank Eaton Memorial Park, site of the yearly 5-kilometer Halloween-themed event.
Vargas couldn’t hide his satisfaction with the turnout, the weather and the event.
“This is the biggest turnout I’ve ever seen,” Vargas said. “We’ve got everyone from seniors to serious runners to parents with strollers. It’s another great community-engagement event!”
Vargas said the run/walk supports the City’s ongoing Live Well Perris healthy-eating active-living campaign. The Mayor also praised the Boys & Girls Club for its promotion of a healthy lifestyle. The non-profit participates in the City’s “Chef in the Garden” classes which teach kids and adults how to prepare tasty and nutritious low-calorie foods. The Perris club boasts more than 1,000-members between 5 and 17-years-old and provides, among other activities, after-school tutoring and homework assistance.
Salazar called the run/walk “great for kids and families” and said she was impressed by the variety and spirit displayed by the youngsters and youngsters-at-heart who dressed up and ran or walked or pushed a stroller or carried their children the five kilometers or three-miles. Those included Ninja turtles, pirates, ghouls, princesses, cartoon and movie characters like Wonder Woman, Captain America, the Joker and Batman.
“Seeing kids dressed up in costumes is the best thing,” Salazar said. “It’s really important for us to send the message to people that it’s important to be active and live a healthy lifestyle.”
Boys & Girls Club Chairman Jose Ramos said the organization is pleased to partner with the City to spread the word about exercise and healthy food choices. Ramos said the club hopes to double its membership to 2,000 in 2018.
“Partnering with the City has been a blessing,” he said. “We are both interested in working toward a healthy community which is good for both the City and the Boys and Girls Club. It’s a good partnership.”
No one could blame Matt Horne for walking the entire route. He carried his sons, Isaac, 4, and Luke, 2, the whole route, lugging their 50-pounds combined weight the three miles.
“I want to show my kids there’s more to life than just watching cartoons and playing with iPhones,” he said. “It’s nice to get the community involved to help the Boys and Girls Club. They provide a lot of services and keep kids safe.”
Carlos Gutierrez finished the run in under 30 minutes and he was satisfied with the result. He’s rehabbing a bum knee. Gutierrez trains at a Perris gym and said the course, mostly flat and not overly long, provided a good workout but not an exhausting one. And the cause was good too.
“Supporting the Boys and Girls Club is great,” Gutierrez said. “It keeps kids active in the right kind of environment.”