COPPERAS COVE — Hundreds of runners descended on City Park for Saturday morning’s Gallop or Trot 5k Run/Walk event sponsored by H-E-B.

The race, one of three in the CenTex race series held in Cove, is a way to unite the community while promoting tourism, said Betty Price, Copperas Cove Chamber of Commerce president.

“When we get to host an event like this, we get to show folks who may have never been here what a great community and support system we have and how good the entities work together,” she said.

“We couldn’t do it without the support of the city and the departments. It’s a partnership.”

Runners took off at 8 a.m., with those finishing quickly sticking around to encourage others still on the course, offering hugs and high fives.

Cove resident Tynisha James said the event “brings everyone together so we can get out and have fun and build up our community.”

Having participated in several other races in the area, James described Saturday’s 5k as “mentally challenging” due to the hilly terrain.

James’s 12-year-old daughter Tori, however, said she had no problem with the course, finishing first in her age group.

“I always place,” she said.

Personal meaning

For runner Marlene Young the event carried a more personal meaning.

“My sister, Viola, started me two years ago and I’ve lost about 50 pounds and have got a lot more energy,” said Young, who placed first in the 60 to 64 age group. “Healthwise it’s been great for me.”

Daniel Shin, who placed first in the 40 to 44 age group and 10th in the overall race, said he prefers the cool September weather at Cove’s 5k event.

“This (race) is a little later in the year, which is a good time to start for new beginners,” Shin said. “It’s a lot cooler weather and easier to run through than the heat.”

The local Starbucks donated coffee and Whataburger donated breakfast.

Whataburger store manager Diane Schramek said the company prides itself on its involvement in the community.

“It’s something that’s very special and dear to our hearts,” she said.

“It’s obviously for a very good organization and it’s important to the community, so it’s important to Whataburger.”

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