The 16th Annual Jesus Center Run for Food was held in person on November 25 at Bidwell Park.
More than 4,000 participants gathered at Bidwell Park to run, jog and walk the 5K course before Thanksgiving dinner to help raise money for the Jesus Center.
Run for Food volunteers Rick Landes and Vicky Thorpe sat at the entrance from 7 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. and checked-in all participants. Landes said he has volunteered for Run for Food about 15 times.
“I just enjoy watching all the people and giving back to the community,” Landes said.
Once all the participants checked in, everyone went to the start line. All the timed participants were in the front, while all the untimed participants waited for the crowd to start at the back.
All the participants and volunteers counted the seconds till 9 am. Crowds of people ran, jogged, and walked under green and black arches labeled “START” as cheering volunteers and spectators cheered.
Evan Goodson and Cameron Goodson were among the timed runners in the event. This was his first year participating in Run for Food. “I’m trying to burn a few calories before I can be with the family,” Evan Goodson said.
As the participants crossed the finish line, the DJ played “Sweet Caroline” among several other songs.
Run for Food first-time participant Erica Souza saw the run as an opportunity to help with her training for the half-marathon. Souza also said that she wants to reach out and support the community and the Jesus Center.
“The run was great,” Souza said. “Great souls, lots of dogs in beautiful costumes, and Bidwell is so handsome.”
As all participants crossed the finish line, Jesus Center Executive Director Laura Kutsona announced the winners for each age group and for the race overall. Amber Abney-Bass, Chief Operations Director of the Jesus Center presented prizes to each of the winners.
According to Cootsona, this year there are participants aged 0 to 80 and from across the country.