by Chanel Ward
Sunshine, smiles and sweat were the theme for Sunday’s Clínica Tepeyac’s 7th Annual ¡Adelante! 5K Walk & Run, where over 200 people attended as both spectators and sprinters. While the booths grew in size this year, so did the number of attendees; nearly double the booths and double the people filled Clínica’s neighboring park from last year.
“Every year it gets a little better, we had more registrations this year and that’s all we can ask for,” said Chief Executive Officer of Clínica Tepeyac, Jim García.
“We feel this event is extremely important for the community, our goal with this event is to really activate the community and really stress the importance of health and wellness and how important it is to get out and walk and run if you can or ride your bike, just as long as you’re out moving,” García said.
García also explained that, “in the Globeville, Elyria, Swansea neighborhood there’s not enough opportunities for this sort of activity, so at Clínica Tepeyac we feel it’s our responsibility to create our opportunities to engage and be healthy.”
García tries to run every year. “I think as the leader of the organization I feel I have to lead by example,” while adding that even though he doesn’t finish in the top ten, he is out with the community, staying healthy, which is most important.
Family Physician and Chief Health Officer of Clínica Tepeyac, Dr. Pamela Valenza participated in the race for the first time this year.
“I think it’s just great to look around and see how the community comes together; from people who support the organization, people who contribute to the organization, to people who just think it’s a good cause. It just brings together a lot of people and you can see that as you look around today.”
Ana Lara-Roca, the Behavioral Health Provider and Behavioral Health and Wellness Director at Clínica has ran the 5K in previous years.
“It’s a really fun way to come together. Tepeyac focuses not only on physical health but also emotional health, spiritual health, intellectual and all types of health; mind, body, spirit and this event really brings that together,” said Lara-Roca adding, “we’re here in the community celebrating our physical health, and exercise is a great way for mental health and wellness in general.”
Another addition to Clínica’s growing 5K, were tiny chips given to each runner, clocking the exact time they crossed the finish line and even monitoring each individuals pace and miles.
First place winner, biology and chemistry teacher at Overland High School in the Cherry Creek district, Matthieu Caldwell finished the race in 19 minutes and 25 seconds. “I heard about the cause and decided just to jump in, because it’s really a great cause and I am gearing up for the Pearle Street Mile in Boulder next week,” said the out of breath, but still bubbly Caldwell.
García and his son, Lucas García both ran the 5K, with Lucas winning First Place Youth at just over 26 minutes. Lucas will be entering his freshman year of high school in just a couple of weeks.
“In the Globeville, Elyria, Swansea neighborhood there’s not enough opportunities for this sort of activity, so at Clínica Tepeyac we feel it’s our responsibility to create our opportunities to engage and be healthy.”
Jim García, Clínica Tepeyac
Over 80 percent of the patients that Clínica serves are uninsured, and a large portion are immigrants and refugees. Events like the 5K and their end of the year gala help to fund the 25-year-old nonprofit that truly lives by its slogan: “A gateway to health for the undeserved.”
Dr. Valenza explained that, “in 2015 a federally qualified health center allowed for [Clínica] to receive federal funding,” which allowed them to open their doors to over 500 kids to the practice and prenatal care. “We will have about 70 babies delivered in our clinic by the end of the year,” added Dr. Valenza.
Clínica Tepeyac’s next event, Besos For Baby, will celebrate Clínicas Pediatric Care on Sunday, August 25th at Clínica’s neighboring Unnamed Park on 5090 Broadway from 11am – 3pm. Free oral health screenings and oral health care will be available for children as well as family portraits, car seat checks, installation and much more.
Visit Clínica Tepeyac website at clinicatepeyac.org to learn more about their services and upcoming community events, or contact the Clínica Tepeyac, 5075 Lincoln St., Denver, CO 80216, 303-458-5302.
Chanel Ward is an Independent Reporter for The Weekly Issue/El Semanario.
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