EDINBURG — The temperature was a frigid 53-degrees as the booming sound of a cannon signaled the start of the 38th Annual David Chavana 10K Run/Walk on Saturday morning.
The runners began their 10K trek, beginning on East Palm Drive, on a route that eventually led them back to the finish line on the track of Richard R. Flores Stadium
Approximately 28 minutes and 40 seconds later, another thunderous explosion from the UTRGV ROTC cannon signaled that David Bett, 27, of Kenya had crossed the finish line, the first to do so.
When asked why he decided to travel roughly 8,996 miles from his home country to participate in the annual race, Bett’s response was simply, “Because it’s a fast race.”
“I’ve been running for around 10 years,” Bett said. “I love running. I am very happy to be winning this race.”
Bett said that this was his first time participating in the David Chavana 10K, but he will be happy to come back next year and run again. In the meantime, he said that he will be preparing to run a 15K in Washington.
The event kicked off with the Miracle Mile, in which an estimated 300 students and individuals with disabilities participated, the 10K which had approximately 3,000 participants, and the 2-mile Fun Run, which had over 6,000 participants.
Runners came from as far away as Russia to participate in what has become one of the most anticipated races in the state.
For David Chavana, the event’s namesake, he said that seeing how his race has grown in nearly four decades means the world to him.
“Myself and two other gentlemen, Mick Sawyer and Frank Garza, we got together in 1982 and we came up with the 10K for February 1983,” Chavana said. “I think what inspired us, especially me, I would go to runs up state, to Houston, to Alice, to places like that. I always wondered how come we didn’t have one. I said, ‘Why not?’ Somebody had to take the bull by its horns, as they say, and I decided to start the 10K.”
Chavana said that the first 10K had 253 participants, which was more than he anticipated. He said that the continued growth of the race is a result of everyone who has taken part in the event over the years.
He added that the 40th anniversary 10K, which is two years away, is already in the works.
Leo Reyes, who is the president for the city of Edinburg 10K Committee, was also pleased with the turnout.
“I think it went really well,” Reyes said. “We had record numbers and the weather was a little cool, but for the most part we had great participation from the Edinburg CISD schools, the JROTC, and I believe five of the top male finishers were from Kenya. Sixth place was a man from Louisiana.”
“It makes us feel great because even though it’s a local race, it has international flavor that we have runners from all over the world,” Reyes continued. “It has become an annual race that has international flavor. Some of them actually train here in the United States and will be participating in the Olympics this summer.”