Exercise and a veteran charity bring East Texans out for Fourth of July 5K : Tyler Morning Telegraph Coverage

From: https://tylerpaper.com/news/local/exercise-and-a-veteran-charity-bring-east-texans-out-for/article_7d205594-9e67-11e9-95bf-f7f7e71f5b6c.html?fbclid=IwAR1fXNK_F0n2EnF4fsL-8GzAFswON5rU8DgR52SVpV0CCmPf5YSst3aEQsA

Erin Mansfield emansfield@tylerpaper.com, July 4, 2019

Red, white and blue tutus on a baby’s stroller. A woman wearing Minnie Mouse ears with stars and stripes. A man wearing American flag patterns as sleeves.

Another man wearing a T-shirt with the face of Chuck Norris that says “’Murica,” a few hundred feet away from a man whose shirt says, “’Merica, back-to-back world champions.”

This was the scene at Bergfeld Park for the second annual Freedom Fighter 5K run. The event raises money for the Boot Campaign, a charity that seeks to provide life-improving programs for veterans and military families.

Three hundred thirty-seven adults and children alike ran the 5K distance in the 78 degree heat and humidity. Jack Gipson, 19, of Tyler, finished first among the men with a time of 16 minutes, 9 seconds. Mallory Meredith, 35, of Tyler, finished first among the women with a time of 18:09.

“I ran this last year, and it’s a great event, and I love it, so I try to make it out here,” Gipson said.

Meredith ran the race for the first time with her husband, Matt, who pushed their 3-year-old daughter, McKenna, in a stroller.

“The hero is the guy pushing the stroller,” Mallory Meredith said, out of breath.

Not all of the participants were focused on competition, or beating their best times, and less than half finished the race in less than 30 minutes. Many said they came for the nature of the event, to spend time with their families, or to stay in shape.

“I like to run, but more importantly I like the people,” said Lauren Arrington, 35, of Jacksonville. She didn’t have a time goal, because, “It’s too hot for that.”

“I’m a Navy reservist, and I thought it would be a great way to spend the morning with my kids,” said Elisa Morrison, 43, of Tyler. She wore red, white and blue plastic garland around her neck.

Christopher Anderson, 37, of Tyler, and his 10-year-old son, also named Christopher Anderson, ran the race wearing matching Captain America T-shirts.

“We’re definitely big Marvel fans,” the younger one said.

Raymond Stewart, 67, of Tyler, said the race was for a good cause.

“And (we can) get out and start the day right with a little bit of exercise,” added Glenda Stewart, 64, of Tyler.

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