By Jubenal Aguilar
Students, staff, faculty and the community will race to the finish line and run obstacle courses to honor first responders and veterans in Dallas County Community College District’s first Heroes Run.The athletic, family-oriented event will be held 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. April 14 in Brookhaven College fields between Parking Lot P3 and Valley View Lane.
“The Heroes Run 5K recognizes the special spirit of those who are willing to serve and be the first in and last out, and it honors this by supporting the food banks at the colleges of the DCCCD,” according to the Brookhaven website.
“I think this is an easy run for people to get behind because a lot of people have great respect for military and first responders,” Cpl. Vikki Ethington, a DCCCD Police Department officer at Brookhaven, said.
To get things running, a foundation was created in 2016 Ethington said. The foundation will benefit all the campuses by ensuring their food banks receive the aid they need to keep shelves stocked.
Jennifer Allen, history professor and food pantry coordinator, said each DCCCD campus is aware of food insecurity among its students and is taking steps to address it.
Allen said each campus is at a different stage in the process of having a food pantry. “At Brookhaven, we have a food pantry, mobile food truck delivery once a month for fresh produce and are working on expanding our partnership with the North Texas Food Bank to supply more shelf-sustainable food so we can truly serve our community,” Allen said.
The Heroes Run will be the starting point to raise funds for the foundation. “[We] will be raising money for the foundation food banks so that all seven colleges will be able to help keep their food banks full,” Ethington said.
Funds will be raised from registrations of individuals and teams who sign up to enter the race. Ethington said the initial fundraising goal is $10,000.
Beginning March 1, registration for individual racers in the 5k will be $35, Ethington said. Racers may register in four-member teams to receive a $5 discount per member.
Registration for race day will increase to $45 and $160 for individuals and teams, respectively.
The registration fee will include all-day, unlimited access to the obstacle course as well as a T-shirt. In addition, Ethington said, first responders and military veterans will receive a commemorative paracord bracelet.
All-day obstacle course access is available for a $10 registration fee now through the day of the race, Ethington said. However, T-shirts will only be available for race registrants.
Ethington said other activities at the Heroes Run will include three age-appropriate obstacle courses – for adults, pre-teens and teens, and children 5 and under.
According to the Brookhaven website, firetrucks and a fire hose for children’s fire safety lessons will be among the available activities. A police armored tank car and military vehicles will also be on display. Ethington said she is also working on getting CareFlite and a military helicopter to land during the event.
Different vendors will be present and provide activities for visitors to participate in, Ethington said. Farmers Branch Citizens on Patrol will have drunk goggles to allow people to feel the effects of trying to walk under the influence of alcohol.
Free food, music and performances by the Dallas Mavericks Dancers will also be part of the event.
“It is important to participate in the Heroes Run because of the focus and the potential outcome,” Allen said. “First responders and our military veterans are the ones we count on to save us in the worst of times, so we can certainly come out and show our gratitude on one day.”
Ethington said Cmdr. Gabriel Galvez, who now oversees Eastfield College campus police, helped her come up with the idea. She said they used Brookhaven’s annual fun run, the Spooky Trot 5k Run/Walk, and expanded on the concept with the goal of helping to provide food for those in need across the district.“We just wanted to expand what we were doing here at Brookhaven for the food pantry and that seemed like a good fit and good way to bring in people to do that,” Ethington said.
She said the Heroes Run will rotate throughout the seven colleges each year. However, the host college for the spring 2019 Heroes Run has yet to be determined.
To register for the Heroes Run, visit brookhavencollege.edu/HeroesRun.