By Abigail Loop
Members of Waco’s Heart of Texas Marine Corps League will run alongside the Waco community this weekend to support their fellow service members.
The organization will host its 13th annual Leatherneck Run in support of veteran causes and local charities.
The 5K run will begin at 8 a.m. on Saturday at Indian Spring Park. Participants are encouraged to arrive 15 minutes early to take place in a ceremony commemorating the Marine Corps’ birth date and recognizing the oldest and youngest Marine in attendance.
After the ceremony, the race will begin with Marines running in formation alongside civilian runners.
“This is one of our best runs and we always do well with it,” said Henry Gonzales, a member of the Heart of Texas Marine Corps League. “We get a lot of support from the community. Marines are able to participate and the proceeds for the run go to a few charities.”
Gonzales said there is a $25 fee that can be paid online at runsignup.com/Race/TX/Waco/Leatherneck or at the event. Proceeds will go towards the Marine Corps League, to support veterans in need and other charities such as Toys for Tots.
Robert Getman, also a member of the Marine Corps League, said the corps is looking to improve the run each year in order to make a bigger impact on veterans in the community.
“Every year the enthusiasm seems to increase, and so do the amount of runners,” Getman said. “We donate to various veteran organizations and want to help with the needs in the community as well. Anyone can participate and help us with this.”
Getman said the run is open to everyone in the Waco community and participants can expect rewards for taking part. Medals will even be given out by age group, and a trophy will be given to the first male and female who finish first overall.
Local Waco businesses who sponsor the Marine Corps League will have booths set up at the entrance of the race.
The Waco Striders Running Club will help with the organization of the run.
Mitch Deskins, race director of the running club, said the leatherneck run has been a favorite for many years and that they are proud to support and sponsor such a worthy event.
“It’s a blast,” Deskins said. “Seeing the regiment of Marines running in formation is really cool. It’s such a positive event.”