On a foggy Saturday morning, hundreds gathered at the McAllen Convention center for the McAllen Kids Marathon.

Over 3,000 children--ranging from kinder to eighth grade--participated in the marathon. They were released in waves depending on their age. Competitive in nature, the children raced with each other, eager to reach the finish line.

Robert Flores, a Mission resident who had a child participate in the marathon, said he sees the value in keeping his kids active, and even more so to make it fun.

“They certainly didn’t have this when I was a kid,” he said. “My kids love it.”

That’s exactly what the organizers of the event wanted to see come out of the event. Sandra Sanchez, opinion editor at The Monitor and race director for the marathon said the idea behind the event is to “improve children’s health in the Rio Grande Valley.”

The first McAllen Kids Marathon was in 2014, with 500 participants. This year they saw six times as many children participate. After seeing the success of the marathon in McAllen, similar marathons have been popped up in different counties, Sanchez said.

“Having all these people here is a testament to our community wanting to see our children healthy,” Sanchez said.