As the sun crept over the horizon at the La Habra Marketplace on Saturday morning, hundreds of runners of all ages gathered alongside community vendors to celebrate the #LaHabraRaces at the La Habra Marketplace.
Starting at 6 a.m., the event consisted of three main races: the 50-Yard Diaper Dash for 3 to 5-year-olds, closely followed by the 1K Kiddy Run for 6 to 9-year-olds and ending with the 5K Run/Walk for all ages.
For the 5K race, the first three males and females in each age group division received medals, while all other runners received participation medals. But for the first time this year, the first three male and female runners for the 1K Kiddy Run also received awards based on their finish times.
As the races began and excited children raced to the finish line, the sound of proud parents cheering enveloped the event.
One of the first to finish the 1K Kiddy Run was 7-year-old Mallory Locke, who excitedly held her medal around her neck. Mallory, who placed 10th, said she wanted to participate in this year’s #LaHabraRaces so she could get a medal.
Her mother, Courtney Green, proudly stood by her side. Green, who was not running in this year’s 5K Run/Walk, attended the event last year.
“It’s just a great thing for the city and the entire community to come together and run,” Green said.
Awaiting racers when they crossed the finish line were vendors and sponsors of the event, including Chick-fil-A, Black Bear Diner, and Sprouts Farmers Market. These vendors were equipped with tasty snacks for the tired runners as free Black Bear Diner and Chick-fil-A meal coupons were given to all 5K and 50-yard runners.
The La Habra High School cheerleaders cheered on the runners as they crossed the finish line and were awarded with medals.
As the final racers finished their run, performances from the La Habra High School cheerleaders and a local martial arts studio were held in front of the award stage.
While the crowd gathered around the stage to find out who the overall winners were, runners gathered together and eagerly took photos with one another, showing off their medals and congratulating fellow runners who were once strangers before they ran side-by-side.
Though many came to support the community by participating in races, Tabitha Isom said she came to help encourage the city to put together similar events.
As Isom caught her breath and gulped down a bottled water, she explained why she continues to attend and participate in events like the #LaHabraRaces.
“A lot of things revolve around food and less about fitness,” she said. “We need to come out and support these types of things so they potentially do more outdoor events.”
Proceeds from the event are given to organizations like City Net and the Children’s Museum at La Habra to help give back to the community and help fund other popular city events.
The collaboration with City Net helps further its mission of reducing the homeless population.
Kimberly Giron, who has worked for the city for three years, enjoyed being a part of the #LaHabraRaces this year.
“This is my first time doing this event,” Giron said. “I think it’s cool that some of the proceeds do go back to helping the homeless.”