Runners dash through zoo for ocelots

BROWNSVILLE — Eight hundred runners ran through Gladys Porter Zoo yesterday morning dressed in wildcat costumes and workout gear to complete the Ocelot 5K/1 Mile Run and help conservation efforts for the endangered feline.

Acting as a kickoff to Ocelot Conservation Day, the Ocelot Run hosted by 2 Run Crew allowed participants to race through the zoo’s grounds and view the tigers and bears on the way to the finish line.

Those participating in the race would obtain a race bib, granting them free entry into the zoo. With that, they could spend the rest of the day viewing the animals and attend the Ocelot Conservation Festival thrown by Gladys Porter Zoo, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Friends of Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge.

Javier Vazquez and Sheralee Six, 2 Run Crew LLC partners, said the Ocelot Run had a great turnout. Vazquez said that 300 people participated in the 1-mile race with 500 people participating in the 5K run.

Tickets for the run sold out in a matter of 15 hours after being made available online. Vasquez said that the ocelot run is the run organizers’ fastest-selling run event.

As a race management company, 2 Run Crew specializes in holding races with a focus on partnering with community health initiatives and conservation efforts. Vazquez said that running is generally used for exercise purposes but can be used for other great purposes, such as raising awareness.

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