Central Texas first responders came out in full force Sunday, joining hundreds of others for the fifth-annual Run with the Heroes 5K.
This year, nearly one thousand participants ran the race in honor of fallen Austin police officer Jaime Padron. Padron was killed in April while responding to a call at a North Austin Walmart.
"I've said it before and I've probably said it about a thousand times by now, he gave us such a tremendous gift through his sacrifice,” Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo said.
“The gift of giving this community the opportunity to show how much they do support the Austin Police Department.”
More than 900 runners laced up Sunday morning, including Austin’s Mayor Lee Leffingwell, Council Member Mike Martinez and, of course, the chief himself.
"I am going to run/walk just to make sure we don't leave anybody behind,” Chief Acevedo said jokingly. “You're only as strong as your weakest link so I’ve got to be back there to support folks."
Not only were the runners at South Park Meadows in South Austin to support the police department and our first responders, the race benefited Special Olympics Texas as well.
"We have 44,000 athletes here in the state of Texas with a strategic plan of 60,000 in the next two years," Margaret Larsen with Special Olympics Texas said.
Organizers hoped the event would bring in $30,000, but it's not all about the money. Larsen said she was happy just to see the large turnout.
"This is just one example of a wonderful group of people who care about their communities," she said.
The Circuit of the Americas sponsored the event. Two tickets to November’s U.S. Grand Prix were raffled off after the race.