George Alvarado crosses the finish line first Thursday morning in the The Texas Bud Heatwave 5 Mile/5K run. 

Second year at new location makes a difference for race


MONT BELVIEU — The early morning humidity helped a local race live up to its name Thursday morning in Mont Belvieu. 

The Texas Bud Heatwave 5 Mile/5K run celebrated its second year in Chambers County with over 900 runners. From throughout the Houston-area, men and women of all ages crossed the finish line celebrating their individual achievement. 

“Isn’t it amazing, all the people showing up,” Jim Ferris, President & CEO of sponsor Wismer Distributing, said. “They seem to have come back.”

Attendance was down last year, which also served as the first time the event was held at Wismer’s new location. But the event, which began over 30 years ago with 25 runners, returned to form this year with a number of new kinks. The first change was in the course. Last year, the race route took competitors along the 1-10 feeder road, which was closed down for the event. This year, the race ended in the neighborhood behind the distributorship. After the race, competitors returned to the main area to cool down, get snacks or a cold beer, and wait inside the tent for the awards. As one could expect on Independence Day, a number of runners showed up in their patriotic finest. 

Race organizers focused on the little details this year to ensure those attending had a good time. That included getting some special help to provide parking.

“We gave some NASA engineers a plot of the property and they designed the parking,” Ferris said. 

Several thousand overall were estimated to have attended the event with volunteers and family members cheering on loved ones.

Michael Hsu from Houston ran the course with his wife Sarah while pushing their children Miles and Harper in a stroller. It was the first time for them to compete in the race.

“It was really fun, I liked it,” Michael said. “We have run in The Scope in the medical center and it was not like the suburbs. I like the open space. They also did a good job of coordinating it with the traffic.”

Ferris said the route will change a little bit next year as development behind the distributorship progresses but it will have a similar route. 

In the 5K race, George Alvarado and Melissa Bittick finished as the top man and woman respectively. In the 5-mile run, Sean Wade took top honors for the men while Peggy Yetman, won for the third year in a row in the women’s division. There was also a six-pack contest and sausage-eating contest. 

“I want to thank all the volunteers, people like Wesley King for showing up,” he said. “It wouldn’t happen without all the volunteers. I am totally happy with how it turned out.”

Proceeds from the event benefit the Baytown Rodeo. Last year, over $20,000 was donated to the event. 

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