More than 400 people competed in the Run the Rocks 5K on Saturday at Elizabeth Scott Elementary School.
Carrie Coyner, a former Parent Teacher Association president at the school, organized the event the previous five years, but this year handed the reins to Rebecca Hall. Coyner lauded Hall for a smooth transition.
“I noticed that most of the fundraising and events we held centered around unhealthy food and selling things in our community,” Coyner said. “So I got this idea of eliminating sales and fundraisers, and doing a community event based around us coming together and enjoying a great Saturday.”
Many soldiers from Fort Lee help with the annual event.
“They always come out. They help with tutoring and on field day,” Coyner said. “So six years ago, they started running this event. At the beginning of the race, we ask kids who are running without their parents to raise their hands and we partner them up with an Army runner. They’re able to motivate them, and we also know the kids are safe on the race. It’s also a great way for kids to meet our men and women who are serving our country and spend some time with them too.”
The winner of the race, eighth-grader Sergio Perez, clocked a time of 18:24. A Chester native, Perez runs on the middle school track team and has competed in the race five of the six years.
“I basically practice most weekdays, and I run the 1- and 2-mile to prepare for this event,” he said. “I think it’s important for a community to stay healthy and to be connected with the school system.”
Funds from the race helped pay for a track behind the school and are used to purchase supplies for the school’s run club and recess-related activities.
“It continues to replenish ways our kids and teachers can be healthy every day,” Coyner said.
For complete race results, go to commonwealthtiming.net.