By Patrick Lacombe, The Belton Journal
Despite a brisk North wind, and the blistering cold weather which hung in the low to mid thirties all day, Saturdays Hope For The Hungry, Trails Of Hope 5K race was attended by hundreds of Central Texans determined to cross the finish line. Some that signed up for the race showed up to collect their T-shirts then returned to their vehicles and the warmth of their homes. Due to icy conditions and a wintry mix of rain and sleet which started late Friday night, Saturdays original start time of 9am was pushed back to a 2pm start. Accumulations of ice on roadways were gone by late morning as temps finally rose above the freezing mark and by the 2pm start, the temperature hovered around the 35 degree mark, with an icy North wind which bit at uncovered ears and faces. Most race participants bundled up for the race, but some die hard runners braved the cold wearing only running shorts and a t-shirt.
Christina Kim of Temple, stood near the starting line with her arms folded trying to keep warm until the start time. Kim, one of the brave souls wearing shorts and a t-shirt stated, “It’s very cold, but I’m going to finish the race.”
The participants lined up at the start line awaiting the starting pistol shot which was delivered promptly at 2pm by Belton Fire Chief Francisco Corona. There were 2 courses offered to the runners. The new, redesigned looped road course which runs throughout the Belton Business Park. The second course was the trail course, a fun and technical course that has been blazed by volunteers and runs throughout the thick wooded area shared by Hope for the Hungry and the Belton Business Park (Belton Economic Development Corp).
Stacey Kyle, Christine Luciano, and Lisa Buitron, all of Killeen, came to race and support the efforts of Hope for the Hungry.
When asked about running in the cold, Kyle replied, “I ran the Army Marathon last year when it was in the 30s, so this doesn’t scare me at all.”
Christine Luciano said, “This is my third year doing Trails of Hope. This is something we plan on doing every year and tomorrrow we will be running the Army Marathon.”
Buitron said, “This is my first time running this race, but it won’t be my last. I’m also running the Army Marathon tomorrow.”
The three women belong to “Team Red, White, and Blue” which is an organization that promotes enrichment of Military Veterans through social and physical activities.
Hosted by Hope for the Hungry in cooperation with Belton Parks & Recreation and the Belton Economic Development Corporation, part of the Centex Race Series and Endurance Race Series. The Trails of Hope began in April 2011 with a simple 5k race running through the woods of Hope for the Hungry. The Trails of Hope Races have expanded and now hosts two races at two different locations in Bell County. The original 5k Races (trail 5k and Road 5k) are held at Hope for the Hungry in Belton the last Saturday of February and the new 10k and 5k trail races are held at Miller Springs Park & Nature Center near Lake Belton the last Saturday of September.
All proceeds go towards the local and global efforts of Hope for the Hungry.