SALADO — Just as the sun rose over the carless Main Street, 84 runners took their marks at the starting line for St. Joseph’s Episcopal Church’s first “3 Kings, 3 Miler” run Saturday morning.
When the church began in the mid-1990s, the congregation met in a shed behind Fletcher’s Books and Antique Store on Main Street. It has grown in the years since.
Earlier this year, the church was able to purchase property next door and began renovating the building to serve as its new parish hall. Proceeds from the run will benefit the building fund.
Other than fundraising for a new building, the run focused on Epiphany, a holiday observed in many denominations including Episcopal, Lutheran and Catholic churches.
Epiphany celebrates the coming of the wise men or three kings and the presentation of their gifts to the infant Christ. In some denominations, Epiphany is observed Jan. 4, while others hold it Jan. 6.
“I can’t believe what a great turnout we had, being our first year and all,” said KD Hill, race co-director. “The race will draw attention to Epiphany, as well as be a great opportunity for people to get their New Year’s resolutions into high gear.”
In addition to warming up their muscles, participants were encouraged to fill their bellies with porridge and hot beverages.
Wearing knee-high Wonder Woman socks, complete with mini-capes, Payton Craft, 8, was the youngest racer at the starting line.
“I just really like to run these races and run fast,” she said.
She ran the race with her mom, Choe Lan Craft, a Harker Heights resident.
“Not having to combat cars was a big bonus, but the promise of a hot chocolate bar at the end was a big incentive,” she said. “We enjoy doing these races together and it’s for a great cause.”
The “3 Kings, 3 Miler” race began at the church, 881 N. Main St. The route followed Main Street, weaved in and around some of Salado’s bed and breakfasts, Pace Park and Center Circle. Timing was provided by Pro-Fit Event Services.
Trophies were given to the top male and female finisher in each age group. The top overall male and female finisher were awarded crowns, made by local artisan Lonnie Edwards, whose structures can be seen all around Salado.
Donning crowns were Robert Pereira, 18, a 2013 Salado High School grad who completed the run in 16:42.7; and Tanya Taylor, 33, a Temple resident who crossed the finish line with a time of 22:09.5.
The church staff and family hope to make the event an annual occurrence, with future proceeds benefiting the church’s outreach programs.