One of Edinburg’s signature events takes place this weekend and is set to bring in thousands of participants who relish the town’s “hometown flavor,” according to coordinator’s of this year’s 10K Run/Walk.
Coordinators say they expect no less than 2,000 runners at this year’s 28th Annual Edinburg All-America City 10K Run/Walk, which will be held this Saturday, Feb. 6. The race will start at 10:30 a.m. sharp, next to Cano Gonzalez Elementary on Freddy Gonzalez Drive and finish inside Edinburg Municipal Park.
This year’s race will be highlighted by the participation of a group of elite, and Olympic-caliber female runners who make their first trip to the Rio Grande Valley.
At the top of the list include 30-year-old Zoila Gomez, an ESL instructor at Adams State College in Alamosa, Colo., who placed fourth at the 2008 U.S.A. Women Olympic Trials in Boston. Gomez also participated in the World Championships in Berlin, where she ranked 51st in the world.
Also attending are Tara Moody, a 29-year-old real estate agent from Boulder, Colo. who placed fifth at the Olympic Trials in Boston, and is fresh off her performance at the Houston Half Marathon, where she placed fifth with a time of 1:12:52. Olympic hopeful, and winner of Dallas’ own Half Marathon and 8-miler Melisa Christian will also participate.
“I think the highlight this year is going to the U.S.A female ladies that are coming down. We have about six to eight who are top-notch runners who all have a good chance of being on the U.S. Olympic Team,” said 10K race director David Chavana. “They have never been in the Valley. The main reason we are bringing them here is that we want to make them understand that if you keep on running, and you get educated, you can be successful in life.”
The 2009 winner of the Dallas marathon, Edward Tabut, who finished the 26.2 mile race with a time of 2:16:53, will also participate in this year’s race.
Local runner and former UTPA standout Wesley Keating is also slated to participate. Keating won the Port Isabel Causeway Run on Jan. 9 with a time of 29:52. He also took first place in the San Antonio half-marathon, about 13 miles, with a time of 1:05:24.
The only Valley runners who have taken first place at the 10K are Orlando Cantu, who won the inaugural race in 1983, and Mission’s Aaron Ramirez in 1992.
“One of the things they tell me they like about Edinburg is the family and community spirit they see when they come down here,” Chavana said. “Races in big cities have gotten too business like, and runners like our race because it has that home town feel. It’s a big city race with a small town flavor.”
Streets will be closed to traffic from Freddy Gonzalez Drive to Sprague Street. Routes along Freddy Gonzalez to Raul Longoria Road, and Raul Longoria to Fourth Street going west will also be closed.