Runners got their marks, got ready and ran to benefit Copperas Cove students Saturday.

Organized by the First Samoan Full Gospel Pentecostal Church and Andrea Maddox, the inaugural Back-to-School 5K Fun Run was held at Ogletree Gap Park. It provided school supplies and a fun atmosphere for children.

Every 5K participant received a T-shirt and a backpack full of school supplies and were entered in a raffle drawing.

“When it gets to school time, it’s crunch time,” Maddox said. “You’ve got to get school clothes and school supplies, and when you have multiple children, the prices really start to add up. This year we were brainstorming on how to give back to the community, and we thought, why not give school supplies away for free?”

Maddox, who works as a dance instructor at Eastern Hills Middle School in Harker Heights, hopes the 5K can become an annual event, grow in popularity, and help relieve some of the strain of back-to-school shopping.

“We have 15 registered runners for this year’s 5K, but the need is so great that we hope to organize this each year,” she said.

Runners showed up bright and early donned in their neon yellow Fun Run T-shirts. While a festive atmosphere was present, the importance of the event was not lost on them.

“There are a lot of families in the area that cannot afford back-to-school supplies,” said Marcy Weldon.

Weldon, a teacher at Memorial Christian Academy in Killeen, said children having the proper school supplies is the first step in being successful students.

“It’s a good cause, taking care of schoolchildren and their school needs,” Weldon said. “If the students are already prepared, they won’t have to worry about not having the essential supplies that they need. They’ll be more ready to come to school and learn.”

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