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On Your Mark, Get Set, Go

The corners of the roads have people in lawn chairs cheering the runners and walkers on. Tables are set up along the trail with cups of water and Gatorade to have a drink when needed.

The start and finish arch is blown up and the clock has zeroes all the way across it. Camera flashes are going off in front of groups of people with matching t-shirts. It’s the season for 5K races in Tyler.

Tents and booths are set up for participants and watchers to grab a bite to eat, get a nice cup of coffee and even bid on a few silent auction items.

Many of the races are for non-profit organizations such as Susan G. Komen, Treatment Learning Center for children with Autism, Bullard Education Foundation and many more.

Julie Tiller, event coordinator of the Tyler Run for Autism, was busy talking to kids with Autism and the parents of the children.

“The support from the community is amazing,” said Tiller. “It means we might have one or two kids from TLC can have maybe one day of therapy. A day of therapy costs $225 and a year is around $50,000.”

Tiller went on to say that her son, Reid Tiller, at two and half maybe had two or three words. Now he’s in the first grade at Bullard Primary School with his peers. He has a shadow with him until 11:30 a.m. Monday through Thursday and on Friday’s he is there by himself all day.

It’s hard to not smile when you see survivors walking around with a piece of paper on their back that has their name and their family around them that says “Walking in Honor of,” or “Team Reid,” for example.

A tear comes to the eyes when you see the “Walking in Memory of,” and has a picture of the person. But a smile still comes across when people embrace them with a hug and a kiss on the cheek.

The joy of people, no matter how early or how cold it is, is humbling and nobody has a frown on their face.

Reid Tiller said he wasn’t excited because it was too early and he wasn’t sure about winning the race because he wasn’t very good. Tiller walked away with the medal when the race was over.

“My favorite thing in school is building blocks,” said Tiller. “I like Leggos.”

The participants in these races are guarded with police, public service officers and EMT’s during the race.

A participant doesn’t have to train ahead of time for a 5K because many of these runs will provide a mile or fun run for the ones who don’t feel like competing in the 5K. Many races will also offer a 10K or 15K.

Several races are coming up in East Texas if interested in volunteering or participating in any of these non-profit organizations.

April 12 will be the Run for Dreams 5K at Rose Rudman and more information can be found at

April 19 is the Color Up 5K in Bullard for the Bullard Education Foundation. Information can be found at

April 26 is the Miracle Run 5K, benefitting Children’s Miracle Network at Faulkner Park. Information can be found at

May 10 is the Susan G. Komen Race, benefitting breast cancer at Bergfeld Park. Information can be found at;=entry

More information for other races can be found at or

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