COPPERAS COVE — For Savannah Ponce of McGregor, taking part in Saturday’s Pink Warrior Dash 5K in Copperas Cove was personal.
“I have metastatic breast cancer,” Ponce said before the 5K began at Copperas Cove City Park. “I wanted to run for Pink Warrior because they’ve helped me out a lot ... support, financial, pretty much everything, so I just want to be here to support them back.”
Ponce was among the nearly 300 pink-clad runners and walkers that took part in Saturday’s event.
“The turnout is amazing,” said Julie Moser, founder of Pink Warrior Angels of Central Texas. “This is our fifth year (and) we had 279 racers as of 6 a.m. this morning, which is quadruple what we had when we first started. So that’s awesome.”
Moser is amazed that the 5K has grown to its current number of racers and volunteers.
“We have over 300 registered volunteers,” Moser said. “Our high school DECA team is here, our Five Hills royalty is here. We also have the National Jr. Honor Society kiddos from Cove Jr. High ... so to have different organizations from our community come out and support us ... the amount of growth that we’ve had has just been amazing.
Moser said the group had raised more than 70% of its $10,000 goal for the event, and expected that they would hit that mark in the next few days.
The 5K focused more on fun than competition. Racers wore pink in many different combinations: T-shirts, hats, tutus and costumes dotted the crowd. Some racers even ran in the opposite direction along the course, setting them apart from the rest of the racers.
But the event also had a serious message.
“This race is important because it gives you an opportunity to run for your loved one, run in memory of someone you may have lost to cancer and ... running for those who are fighting,” Moser said. “On top of that, the funds that are raised help continue our programs of giving grants every month to those that are going through cancer treatment, to the mentor program of the Warrior Angels and supporting that family that might be going through hospice and end of life.”
Copperas Cove Mayor Bradi Diaz took part in the 5K and afterward said it was a well-planned and well-run event, and encouraged people to participate.
“I think it’s extremely important because this particular cause is a support network,” Diaz said. “Not necessarily for the cure, because we already have causes out there that do that, but to help those caregivers or those who are trying to come back from beating cancer.
“It’s a grass-roots cause, and I think it’s extremely important for communities to come together for those different causes.”