On Friday night, the San Marcos Rattlers will be running up and down the field at San Marcos Toyota Rattler Stadium fighting for their playoff lives against Lockhart.

Saturday morning, the Rattlers booster club hopes the community will be joining those student athletes running to fight against something with a much larger impact, hunger.

Win or lose on Friday night, playoffs or not, the boosters will be hosting the 1st Annual Rattlers Tackling Hunger 5K & Kids Fun Run at Rattler Stadium, starting with a 7 a.m. late registration and packet pick up, followed by a zumba warm-up, the kids mile fun run at 8:30 a.m. and the 5K at 8:45 a.m.

I talked to San Marcos High School Football Booster member and run sponsor Rudy Espinoza about the event and how it all started over one year ago.

12189729_982972728408620_6801528070455265814_n“Coach (Mark Soto) was trying introduce the kids into the community. He wanted them to be more involved,” Espinoza said. “He wanted them to be more active and of course I was with the Knights of Columbus and we had just got done doing a program with Hays County Food Bank and they were having a hard time. And I said, here’s an opportunity for the Rattlers to step up to the plate and it ended up being a really great event. We’re just trying to build it from there and make it larger.”

The 5K and Fun Run will be benefitting the Hays County Food Bank, San Marcos School Fuel, and San Marcos High School Parent Liaison Linda Contreras.

San Marcos School Fuel was started to address students in San Marcos schools who are on free and reduced lunch plans who go home on weekends with little to no food to eat. School Fuel sends students home every Friday with four meals and four snacks. Currently the program is being run through elementary schools, but School Fuel hopes to move into all schools eventually.

Contreras helps several San Marcos High School students and families with several needs, and often helps out of her own pocket book.

“She takes care of a lot of Rattler students out there that nobody’s aware of, and Rattlers need to take care of Rattlers first and we need to make sure that all students have an opportunity to be successful,” Espinoza said. “Last year, Linda Contreras called me, and she had 100 graduates that did not have caps and gowns, and her sponsor she did have pulled out one week before. I got on the phone and it was me and Hector Zarate from Tire Factory Outlet, and I called her back and told her to place the order and that I’d pick up the checks and we’d pay for all of them.”

“Can you imagine those students that are not only having hardships, but also able to meet that requirement to graduate. She keeps up with those students and a lot of them are seeking higher education, so it’s tremendous to be able to be a part of their lives like that.”

Contreras said, via Facebook that a lot of families are especially in need after the Memorial Day flood.

“As the Parent Liaison at San Marcos High School, I serve as a connection between the school and families—and often in some cases—directly with the students themselves to see that their life needs are being met. Students in need range from struggling single family homes, to parents who have lost their employment, to actual homelessness,” Contreras said.

“This school year, I have many students with a variety of so many needs. We also have families who are still struggling with the effects of the Memorial Day Flood this spring, especially needing food and clothing.  Most of our families are trying very hard to provide for themselves, but they face dire circumstances.”

Registration for the 5K is available via Athlete Guild. Registration is $30 today and tomorrow and $35 on Saturday until 8 a.m. Registration for ages 3-12 is $10, and it’s $15 for 13-19, with an extra $5 if registering on race day.

“Coach Soto wants the students at San Marcos High School to be part of the community and make a difference long after the Friday night lights are lit up for them. That’s what it’s about.”

Whether or not Friday marks the end of the high school football careers for seniors or is just the beginning for a playoff run, expect to see a large turnout on Saturday with Rattler students, parents and community members looking to fight for something that will help beyond the next few Fridays.

“We’re really proud that we’re doing all of that at no cost to taxpayers. It’s just not a race, that’s only part of the equation,” Espinoza said. “Coach Soto wants the students at San Marcos High School to be part of the community and make a difference, and be part of this long after the Friday night lights are lit up for them. That’s what it’s about.”

For a full list of sponsors and more information, download the flyer and register today.

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Michael is the founder and editor of ProjectSpurs.com. He has a long history in journalism, sports and online media. Michael has been interviewed by the BBC, SportTalk, the Sports Reporters Radio Show, MemphisSportLive, OKC Sports Wrap and ESPN radio among others.


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