From left to right: Yasmin Lopez, Jesenia Lopez and Yamilet Lopez

Over 1,000 runners ran this weekend’s Boyle Heights 5k, including three sisters who took top three overall spots in the female division. 

Yamilet López, 11, placed first with a time of 17:20. Her sister Yasmin López, 8, placed second with a time of 18:08 and her other sister Jesenia López, 16, placed third with a time of 19:06.

In the male category, Eder Pina placed first with a time of 15:17, Fermín Jr Rojas placed second with a time of 16:17 and Sergio Valenzuela placed third with a time of 17:17.

A grand prize of a round trip to anywhere in Mexico was awarded to the fastest male and female runner.

Jesenia said this was her sisters’ first official 5k run and they were all happy with their results. She said that since she started high school, she hadn’t gotten the chance to practice or race with her sisters like they did before, but when she does she “feels excited and motivated.”

“My sisters are not your ordinary runners so when I do have a chance to run with them I push myself as much as I can,” Jesenia said. “I’m very proud of my sisters and all the things they have accomplished in the past few years as youth runners.”

The López girls belong to the Pacific Coast Shockwaves Fontana team, a cross country and track and field team of 19 girls.

John Garcia, a Boyle Heights resident, heard about these girls who live in Fontana and found out that they weren’t able to pay for their registration. At first he was just going to sponsor a few of the girls but then he decided to sponsor all 19 members. He offered to help by setting up fundraisers on social media to get them to run in the Boyle Heights 5k.

“Running is love, running is passion and most of all running is ls life. I’m blessed to be in a position where I can invest in the future which is our youth runners,” Garcia said. “It was an honor to be able to help out the PC Shockwaves Fontana Team with their race entries. It was a feeling that I can not describe without getting a little teary eye.”

John Garcia with some of the girls he sponsored for the Boyle Heights 5k.
Photo courtesy of John García

After the race, organizers hosted a free Community Health Fest. The American Heart Association gave away bags of fresh produce and vegetables to all runners and community residents who happened to stop by. The American Heart Association also had a booth where they were teaching community residents how to prepare healthy meals. They had a CPR station where volunteers taught people how to perform this lifesaving technique. 

The event held free health screenings were doctors were present. Walgreens gave away 150 flu shots. Mother’s Nutritional Center had a booth providing more information about their program and also providing water at mid point during the 5k.

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Jacqueline Ramírez

Jacqueline Ramírez is a former reporter and recent graduate from Mount Saint Mary’s University. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Journalism and New Media. She enjoys sharing the art of storytelling...

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