May 7 dawned bright and beautiful in Central Texas for the 136 runners – including eight New Life girls – who participated in our inaugural “I am Dam Strong” 5K benefiting Upbring New Life Children’s Center in Canyon Lake. Runners, who began the race at New Life’s neighbor Lala’s Dam Red Barn & Grill, crossed over to Dam Road where they ran through the first and second gates before heading back to Lala’s. This was the first run on Canyon Lake Dam in more than 18 years!
Preparation for the race began in January thanks to the coordination of a few amazing Upbring staff members: Leslie Ontiveros, Program Director, Victoria Davis, Recreation Specialist and Lisa Brown, Director of Volunteers. In addition, three New Life girls ran the water station and one sang the National Anthem to launch the race’s start.
Our loyal supporters from Universal City’s Christ the King Lutheran Church brought 11 runners and 11 members of the Women’s Basketball team at Texas State University volunteered! Adding to the festivities were runners dressed as a Power Ranger and Spiderman, the Chick-fil-A cow – dressed in a track suit – handed out chicken biscuits and five “sleepwalkers” registered to support New Life but didn’t plan on actually running.
Upbring VP Mike Nevergall, who ran in the race with his wife Rachel, said they both felt it was a uniquely challenging race with the large hill to climb in the first mile – and then the payoff at the top, with the run across the top of the dam, made it all worth it. “We’ve run a lot of races – of all distances – and this race offers runners from both the Austin and San Antonio areas something new and different,” said Mike. “Plus it’s for a great cause!”
Thanks to everyone who came out to support the New Life girls and made this inaugural fun run such a success! And a special thanks to Lala’s for making your property available to stage the race.
Upbring New Life Children’s Center is a residential treatment center for severely troubled girls ages 11-17 who are being treated for emotional disorders due to abuse and neglect. Beyond the basic needs of shelter, clothing and food, New Life has given more than 2,000 girls a safe place to heal.