Tiana Cole (from Blake High School) singing the national anthem and Santiago Carrera (fourth grader from Bevis Elementary) presenting the American flag.

Over 1,000 community members from all corners of Hillsborough County arrived early in Tampa on April 6 to participate in the Race for Education.

The third annual Race for Education, co-hosted by Hillsborough County Public Schools (HCPS) and Hillsborough Education Foundation (HEF), started in front of Blake High School and took participants in 5K and 1-mile races over the Hillsborough River.

Race proceeds are used by HEF to fund engaging ways to improve the mental and physical wellness of students in the district.

The inception of the district’s current health focus began in 2016 with the Hillsborough Healthy Schools Committee. School board member Lynn Gray and Superintendent Van Ayres were on the committee. Both ran this year’s race and placed in their age groups.

“I began the Race for Education three years ago as a pinnacle event to have our children and staff to have a chance to savor the joy of movement,” Gray said.

Ayres is thrilled with this year’s race.

“Three years ago, I helped put the course together, and now seeing it grow to more than a thousand athletes makes me so proud. My favorite part is seeing the schools and families come out to support the runners. When we announce the winners and they shout out what school they attend or teach at, those moments make this whole race worthwhile,” Ayres said.

The overall winner of the 5K was Tristan Cravello, winning with a time of 16:52. The overall female winner was Holly Bly with a time of 21:15. Cravello is a teacher at Tinker K-8 School at MacDill Air Force Base. Bly is a former teacher in the county. Cravello also won the race in 2023.

“The Race for Education is a fun race where teachers, like me, get to participate to have fun outside of the classroom and school. I’ve run this race for two years not only to compete and win but also to motivate other teachers in the district to exercise for their well-being,” Cravello said.

Highlights of the race included Tiana Cole (eleventh grader from Blake High School) singing the national anthem and Santiago Carrera (fourth grader from Bevis Elementary School) presenting the flag and performances by Plant High School Drumline, Ballast Point Elementary Bucket Drumming, Lanier Elementary World Drumming, Coleman Middle School Jazz Band, Thonotosassa Elementary World Drumming and Lockhart Elementary Drumline.

For more information about Hillsborough County’s Race for Education, visit https://educationfoundation.com/raceforeducation/.

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