UVALDE, Texas – The day after what would have been her 45th birthday, hundreds gathered in Uvalde for Eva Mireles’ memorial run.
After the national anthem was sung, and a prayer, Ruben Ruiz welcomed all participants to his late wife’s memorial run.
“Just like Eva used to say, ‘it doesn’t matter how you finish, just finish. Just get it done guys, have fun,’” Ruiz said.
Even on the gloomiest day, you shine bright Eva 💎🤍 pic.twitter.com/nX7uQmMWVs— Leigh Waldman (@LeighWaldman) March 18, 2023
With her husband and daughter leading the pack, hundreds of runners and walkers braved the cold rain for the Eva Strong Memorial Run.
Jayda Albarado, 9, was the first-place finisher for the kids.
“Now she’s in a better place and now she doesn’t have to suffer. But now she can know that me and my mom will always support her,” she said.
More than 400 people signed up to run in-person and virtually.
Alyssa Martinez, one of Eva’s relatives, said it means the world that so many people came to support Eva.
“It’s amazing, it’s amazing to see it’s raining and people are still coming. So it’s great, it’s a great turnout,” Martinez said.
Even though there’s an official start and finish, and first-place medals, this race was about more than just a finish time -- it’s about honoring Eva and the life she led.
”We’re thinking of going towards education and athletic scholarships, so we’re still trying to decide what to do with that but all this money is going toward a scholarship,” Adalynn Ruiz, Eva’s daughter, said.
Wearing her mom’s weighted vest, Adalynn Ruiz said she knew her mom was with her Saturday because her signature song “Diamonds” by Rihanna played as she pushed to the end of the race.
“Her song came on my headphones so I knew that was her telling me, ‘don’t stop and hurry up,’” Adalynn Ruiz said.
After she finished, Adalynn Ruiz helped her dad cross the finish line.
Both felt thankful for the hundreds honoring the mother, wife, daughter, sister, educator, and hero they lost.
“I’m so so grateful for all of the support that we have here. And everybody that showed up even though it was raining. It just shows how important she was,” she said.
They hope to make this run an annual event.
On top of raising money for a scholarship, Adalynn Ruiz said they’re raising money to buy school supplies and toys for kids.