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The 16th annual Jesus Center Run For Food was held back in person at Bidwell Park on Nov. 25.

Over 4,000 participants gathered at Bidwell Park to run, jog, and walk a 5K course before Thanksgiving dinner to help raise money for the Jesus Center.

Rick Landess and Vicky Thorp, volunteers for the Run For Food, sat at the entrance from 7 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. getting all of the participants checked in. Landess said that he has volunteered for the Run For Food about 15 times.

"I just enjoy seeing all the people and giving back to the community,” Landess said.

Once all of the participants checked in, everyone walked over to the start line. All of the timed participants were in the front, while all of the untimed participants waited to start in the back of the crowd.

All of the participants and the volunteers counted down the seconds until 9 a.m. came. The crowd of people ran, jogged, and walked under the green and black arch labeled "start” as volunteers and spectators cheered.

Evan Goodson and Cameron Goodson were among the timed runners at the event. This was their first year participating in the Run For Food. "I’m trying to burn off some calories before we hunker down with the family,” Evan Goodson said.

As participants crossed the finish line, the DJ played "Sweet Caroline” among many other songs.

Arica Souza, a first-time participant for the Run For Food, saw this race as an opportunity to help in her training for a half-marathon. Souza also said she wanted to get out and support the community and the Jesus Center.

"The run was great,” Souza said. "Great spirits, lots of dogs in cute costumes, and Bidwell is pretty beautiful.”

As soon as all of the participants crossed the finish line, Laura Cootsona, the


Participants running at Run For Food in Bidwell Park on Nov. 25.


Laura Cootsona announcing the winners while Amber Abney-Bass gets the prizes ready in Bidwell Park on Nov. 25.




executive director at the Jesus Center, announced the winners for each age group and for the overall race. Amber Abney-Bass, the chief operations director for the Jesus Center, handed out the prizes to each winner.

This year the participants aged anywhere from 0 to 80 and came from all over the country, according to Cootsona.

Participants getting water at the end of the race in Bidwell Park on Nov. 25.