LAREDO, TEXAS (KGNS) - Does anybody out there like to be active? Well, if you like to participate in a 5K, 10K, a Zumbathon, or just go for a brisk morning walk, there was something for everybody at the Laredo Next Generation Rotary Club's 6th annual RotaRun.
Rotarians gathered at North Central Park at 5:00 am Saturday to prepare for their annual Rotary Day event.
"We do this race annually to raise funds for our club to donate back to the community," said Club President Laura Narvaez. "We've done several projects throughout the community, such as building playgrounds here at North Central Park. We also use the money for scholarships and other smaller projects - such as donating shoes for the needy, candy bags for children at the orphanage, and presents for them during Christmas time."
The crowds started piling in just before sunrise, and this year's race pulled in more than 150 people across the four events.
"I love to be in the community, and be supportive of the community," said 10K participant Greg Liles. "It's always fun to do something you enjoy, while also being a part of this great city."
The event even brought out our own Telemundo Sports Director Roberto Galvez, as well as KGNS Sports Anchor Valerie Bragg.
"I'm here to run my second 10K," said Valerie. "I'm training for my second half-marathon, so I thought this would be a good way to practice."
As the sun was starting to shine, all the participants for the 5K approached the starting line, and the gun was fired by none other than Laredo District 7 Council Member Charlie San Miguel.
As the 5K runners were off, the 10K runners weren't far behind. The runners were anxious, sporting smiles on their faces, and then took off from the starting line at the sound of the gunshot.
Then, it was time for the participants for the one-mile walk to get ready. Once again, San Miguel fired the pistol, and the walkers were off for a stroll through the park on a beautiful Saturday morning.
The event's Zumbathon started at 8:30 am, and had between 50 - 75 participants - a drastic improvement from 15 people at RotaRun 2013. Even the beloved Chik-Fil-A cow got in on the Zumba action!
As the 10K runners started to cross the finish line, KGNS got a chance to talk with some of the winners.
"I was ready to have some good competition from people from out of town, but obviously it turned out good," said Alberto Trevino, who was the 10K's highest-placing man. "It just helped me to pace up a little more and do it faster. It was a beautiful morning, so it helped a lot."
"Running's always been a hobby of mine," said Kaki Talbot, the highest-placing woman in the 10K. "I run with RunStrong, so they keep me honest. We run pretty much every day."
As the awards were handed out and event started to wind down, all the participants started heading home to get some rest - but not before congratulating the Next Gen Rotary for a great experience.
"I'm excited to see a great organization supporting our community," said Liles. "I'm glad to be a part of it [the event]. I'm glad to be one [person] that can help support."
"It's a great race, with good people appreciating the outdoors," said Talbot. "The Next Generation Rotary Club did a good job."
"I really like what they do," said Trevino. "They held this race, and they built playgrounds in the park. They do a lot of good stuff for the community, so it's good to help them cause they're helping us, too."
"I think it's a great thing they're putting on this event," said Valerie. "I think it's a great thing for people to get up and get out and get active."
This year's RotaRun was able to raise over $12,000 for the club, thanks to many event sponsorships and participant registrations. The event's "platinum sponsors" were Powell Watson Motors and Plains Capital Bank.
The Laredo Next Generation Rotary Club is one of five Rotary Clubs in Laredo, and one of thousands across the nation. They take pride in serving those in need, and their motto is "Service Above Self." The club meets Wednesday nights at 7:00 pm at Hal's Landing.