Hundreds brave the cold for the Eva Strong Memorial Run

Eva Mireles was one of two teachers killed while protecting her students at Robb Elementary on May 24th.

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.

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.

About the Authors:

Leigh Waldman is a news reporter at KSAT 12. She joined the station in 2021. Leigh comes to San Antonio from the Midwest after spending time at a station in Omaha, NE. After two winters there, she knew it was time to come home to Texas. When Leigh is not at work, she enjoys eating, playing with her dogs and spending time with family.

Gavin Nesbitt is a photojournalist and video editor who joined KSAT in September 2021. He has traveled across the great state of Texas to film, conduct interviews and edit many major news stories, including the White Settlement church shooting, Hurricane Hanna, 2020 presidential campaigns, Texas border coverage and the Spurs.