Terri Pickard had a special reason to participate in Sundays Merced Honey Bun Run.
One of her sons died in Iraq in December 2006. He was serving his second tour when he was killed by a sniper, Pickard said. He joined the Marines after graduating from Buhach Colony High School in 2004.
Im running for my son, Pickard, 52, said with a smile after completing the 5 kilometer race.
Sundays second annual Honey Bun Run is a fund-raiser sponsored by Buhach Colonys cross country and track team. The race, named for its close proximity to Valentines Day, will donate all proceeds to the cross-country and track team, as well as the Fallen Heroes Memorial Scholarship.
About 300 runners took part in the event, which consisted of a 1, 5 and 10 kilometer races. It was open to all runners 5 years and older. The 1 kilometer kids race began at 8:30 a.m. and the other two races began at 9 a.m.
Certain roads closed at 6 a.m. for the races, but all streets reopened at around 11:30 a.m.
While some ran to honor the fallen, others like April Latta, did it for a sense of accomplishment. I set a goal to participate in one event a month, the Los Banos 36-year-old resident said. This was my event for the month of February.
Latta, who began her morning fairly early, said it took a little bit to get warmed up because of the cold weather Sunday morning. But once she got into it, it was a good feeling, especially when she finished. Now I can go have a big lunch! she said.
Natalie Flores, 15, a sophomore at Buhach Colony, said this was her first 5 kilometer race. She usually only runs 2 miles, she said. She did it in less time than expected. It took her 26 minutes to get across the finish line.
Her favorite part was enjoying the run. Not having anything in mind, she said. Just concentrating on finishing it.
The race was started after members from the cross-country and track teams were looking for ways to raise money for travel, uniforms and other expenses. The race was inspired by the Merced Classic race held in the early 1990s.
The event was part of the Merced County Road Running Series, said Vanessa Carroll, one of the organizers. There are two other similar events scheduled to take place in Atwater and Livingston.
Reporter Yesenia Amaro can be reached at (209)385-2482, or firstname.lastname@example.org.