SAN ANTONIO – It was an unusual sight in Boerne’s Main Plaza Saturday morning: hundreds of runners gathered to participate in a city-approved race.
The nonprofit organization, Aid the Silent, worked closely with City of Boerne officials to create a COVID-19 safety plan in order to host their sixth annual walk and run.
“This is important because I feel like our world is just shut down,” said Emma Faye Rudkin, the executive director and founder of Aid the Silent. “We (have) lost that community, hope (and) joy.”
According to Rudkin, 400 runners signed up to participate in-person, and hundreds more virtually registered and committed to run the 5K at home. Saturday morning’s run was a major fundraising effort for the group who aims to help deaf and hard of hearing children and teens.
It’s a mission Rudkin says is even more important during the pandemic as face masks cover lips, an essential form for properly communicating with those that experience various levels of hearing loss.
“We are better united,” Rudkin said. “We can come together. We can put aside our differences and really make a difference together.”
Runners were placed in four different color groups with staggered start times. Even within the groups, runners remained six feet apart while they waited for their timed run to begin.
Rudkin hopes the 5K encourages event organizers to consider all possibilities before canceling.
Although masks are a standard requirement, participants were encouraged to opt for clear masks to properly communicate with those who are deaf and hard-of-hearing.
“You will notice there are so many clear masks and clear face shields (being worn by participants), and they are being intentional to show everyone is welcome,” Rudkin said.
“Everyone is Welcome” was the theme of Aid the Silent’s 6th Annual 5K Walk or Run.
Aid the Silent hopes next year’s event will welcome even more people to help change even more children’s lives.
For more information on Aid the Silent’s mission and services offered to deaf or hard-of-hearing children and teens, click here.
For more information on Aid the Silent’s clear face masks, click here.