By Miranda A. Holden
Eight students from this college kicked off their Halloween weekend in the sixth annual Dia de Los Muertos 5K/10K sponsored by Huarche Turbo Oct. 29 at Lady Bird Johnson Park.
The office of student life funded the entry fees for students from the student activity fee.
Over 500 runners and spectators celebrated Day of the Dead by getting in the cultural spirit, painting their face as colorful sugar skulls and wearing Halloween costumes for the evening event that saw the temperature as high as 84 degrees.
The sun was beaming down at the beginning of the race, which had runners drenched with sweat in their costumes.
Even pet owners had their furry canines in Halloween spirit wearing vibrant tutus.
Prenursing freshman Crystal Pulido dressed as a magical fairy as she participated in her first night run.
Pulido normally participates in the Susan G. Komen races in honor of her aunt who is a breast cancer survivor.
Pulido is a fighter as well. She struggles with Graves’ disease, which affects her thyroid and stimulates hormones forcing her to pause throughout the race to avoid heat exhaustion.
Joining Pulido was psychology freshman Marissa Garcia dressed as an orange M&M and liberal arts freshman Ebony Hurtado dressed as a honey bee.
The three friends sang songs in unison during the race to get their mind off the blazing weather and wanting to give up.
Garcia said having her friends by her side made the experience more enjoyable, and she wants to be involved in future activities hosted by this college.
Marisa Martinez, senior specialist of student success, participated in the event with her 5-year old son who fell asleep as she pulled him along in a red wagon.
“Races can be pricey, so why not give back to students what they already pay for,” Martinez said Saturday.
Teaching freshman Eric Harris was the only student from this college to participate in the 10K, completing the race in 23.12 minutes.
Harris said the route had tough turns as if he were running sideways, making it harder on his feet.
Children ran for free on a separate quarter-mile trail and joined their parents as they rushed through the finish line.
Whether people sprinted or power walked to the finish line, everyone received a free T-shirt and colorful skull-shaped medal, which was also a bottle opener.
Entertainment included a disc jockey who played Halloween themed music including Michael Jackson’s “Thriller,” which had children dancing throughout the night.
Everyone refueled by chowing down on free beef sausage wraps provided by Kiolbassa Smoked Meats.
Runners over the age of 21 cooled off by hydrating with free beer provided by Alamo Beer Co. while others refreshed with chilled bottled water.
Vibrant colored hand-made Dia de Los Metros dolls were awarded for first-place male and female runners in each age group for both 5K and 10K winners.
A cash prize was awarded to first-, second, and third-place for the best costume. First-place received $100, second place $50 and third-place $25.
The president of Huarache Turbo, Cecilia Inigez, wanted to bring her culture to the U.S by creating an event for the community to honor the celebration of life and those loved ones who have died.
Born and raised in Michoacán, Inigez said Day of the Dead is one of the biggest holidays in Mexico.
She started the race 6 years ago to honor her late grandmother.
After the first year, she noticed participants enjoying the race, which made her continue the celebration, Inigez said.
“I am blessed to have my family and friends involved helping me put together this event,” she said.