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July 30, 2021

Salinas Valley runners take part in Orange and Black 5K

SALINAS VALLEY — Nearly 100 runners and walkers kicked off the Fourth of July by hitting the streets of Gonzales for the seventh annual Orange and Black 5K.

The event was the first 5K to take place in the tri-county area since Covid-19 restrictions have been lifted.

“Our all-time high was two years ago when we had 104 participate,” said Cesar Ayon, race organizer and Gonzales Rotary member. “That is not bad for a super short-notice event.”

Runners and walkers came from all over Monterey County, including the Salinas Valley cities, Pacific Grove and Marina, as well as one participant from Oakland.

“This year we even added a stroller division and added two age groups, and we let kids run for free and receive T-shirts and merchandise,” Ayon said. “I was surprised how many people showed up to the 5K and the celebration at Central Park afterwards for the food and music.”

After the morning race, the city’s Fourth of July celebration continued with a parade, followed by live music and food at Central Park.

The City of Soledad was well represented at the Orange and Black 5K with seven medal winners: (from left) Estefania Montiel, first female runner, 23:55; Joel Hernandez, first teen runner, 21:09; Carlos Espinoza, first overall, 17:45; Gregory Carrillo, second overall, 19:10; Natalie Milan, third teen, 34:50; Mariana Leon, second teen, 32:48; and Eliazar Rubio, second 50-plus, 21:15. (Michael Ramirez/Staff)
Maria C. Figueroa (left) and Eileen Joy Esporo place first and second, respectively, in the 40-age group at the Orange and Black 5K on July 4. (Michael Ramirez/Staff)
Mason Mena gives a thumbs up after placing first in the grade school boys division at the Orange and Black 5K on July 4. (Michael Ramirez/Staff)
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