Every runner has a motivation as to why he or she runs. For Harlingen’s Alexia Juarez, her motivation lies close to her heart. “I do this every year in memory of my dad who passed away 11 years ago,” Juarez said minutes after crossing the finish line this past Saturday during the 2019 Summer Longest Causeway Run & Fitness Walk founded and organized by the Port Isabel Chamber of Commerce.
As in every year, the run, which attracts participants from far and wide, began at South Padre Island’s Schlitterbahn Waterpark and concluded on the other side of the Queen Isabela Memorial Causeway at The Port Isabel Event & Cultural Center, totaling 6.2 miles or 10K, as runners refer to it.
For Juarez, this, and its sister run held during the winter, are the two organized runs she participates in, she said because of the challenge presented by the elevating slop provided by the causeway. “You can train and train, but it’s always a struggle,” she explained. Juarez said the 2019 Summer Causeway Run represented the sixth time she’s crossed the causeway on foot, between the summer and winter 10ks.
Caroline Myers, a Brownsville resident who’s in the process of training for the half Ironman to be held in Waco later this coming fall, concurred. “It (Waco) has a lot of hills,” she explained, “so this is one of the best races to start my training off because I get the opportunity to be in the humidity and also be able to go up and down the bridge. There aren’t many opportunities for hills in the Valley and this is a great opportunity to kick off my training.” Incidentally, Myers is a member of a training group called the Gator Chasers based out of the Laguna Madre.
Fifteen-year-old Kassandra Vasquez, also of Brownsville, was on hand, along with her brother and father, to root for her mother, Idalia Vasquez, who was attempting the 10K run for the first time. “She started running a year ago,” an excitedly proud Vasquez began to explain. “This is her first official race,” she added.