SOUTH PADRE ISLAND — From the moment the 32nd annual Causeway Run & Fitness Walk started, Charles Koech Kandie and Benjamin Kiplimo Meto, two Kenyans training in Mexico, never stopped sprinting.
Kandie was close behind Meto when he finished the race first, a few minutes ahead of the other runners. They finished around the 31-minute mark for the 6.2-mile run.
“We’re training to compete in half-marathons and marathons and improve our time,” Kandie said.
“So far, we’ve done OK. But we can do better,” Meto added.
Participants got to enjoy a scenic route of South Padre Island running across the Queen Isabella Causeway in what Betty Wells, president of the Port Isabel Chamber of Commerce, considered perfect running weather.
“It was a great time for everyone interested in adventurous sports and an opportunity to do something with the family,” Wells said. “The weather was just beautiful. Not too hot, a little windy, but perfect for walking and running.”
The wind did end up being a bit of a challenge for first-time Causeway Run participant Steve Longoria, a San Benito resident, when he was running up the causeway.
“I had never been on a run uphill, so it felt pretty intense,” Longoria said. “I just started running again, and I struggle a lot with my feet, so I felt a lot of pain in my lower back and shins, but I think it was just the fact that I was going uphill.”
Longoria powered through the pain and with the help of a few Tylenol, was able to finish the race with relief.
Joshua Perez, a freshman at Steven F. Austin University, was back in the Rio Grande Valley to visit his family but decided to participate in the run so he could stay fit.
“It’s been about a year since I’ve run in the Valley, but I do runs up there,” he said.
Perez was aiming to beat his personal best of 33 minutes and 37 seconds, but finished later than that.
“I wasn’t really satisfied with that. I was aiming for third place, but after that causeway, I felt myself getting really tired,” Perez said.
In total, 1,628 runners were registered to compete in the 10K run and about 1,000 people registered for the 5K walk, Wells said.
“Everyone that participated in the event got a medal. We felt they were all winners,” Wells said. “And we’re looking forward to a bigger and better event next year.”