Whether their preference was to run or walk, scores of participants completed the annual Cinco de Mayo 5K to benefit the Council for Drug Free Youth early Saturday morning.
The Jefferson City Area Board of Realtors has hosted the event for 17 years, according to Lynda Cornejo, chair of the Realtors' community outreach committee.
Donna Stone, the association executive for the board, said that when the idea of organizing a 5K to benefit a nonprofit came about nearly two decades ago, Council for Drug Free Youth appeared to be a nonprofit that needed assistance and could be something members could get behind.
"We partnered up and it's been a good partnership," Stone said.
She added that through the years, the run/walk had raised nearly $72,000 for CDFY.
The council uses the money for a number of programs. It works with community partners to provide scholarships to area graduating seniors who have maintained a sober lifestyle; offers student performance groups that emphasize messages surrounding avoiding drug, alcohol and tobacco use; and empowers youths to support one another and live healthy drug-free lives. Among the nonprofit's most recent challenges is that it has taken over a Signs of Suicide program that it offers to students.
Paula and Bill Gerling participate in the 5K event each year, Paula Gerling said. She added the couple runs as often as it can.
Bill Gerling said he runs about five miles every couple of days. It's too hard on his legs to do more than every other day, he added. At 79, it helps him continue to feel young.
But Saturday's event was extra special because it supports CDFY, he said. He said the nonprofit's director, Andrea Holloway, is very involved in Rotary Club activities.
"We do a lot of beneficial things in the Rotary Club, and try to volunteer for as much as we can," he said. "We help out."
Gerling said he's been running for 50 years.
"I love to run in these races," he said.