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Stockton NAACP Branch Hosts First Run, Walk Event in Honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

STOCKTON -- With Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday on Monday, the city of Stockton celebrated his legacy with its first 5k and 10k in his honor.

Nearly 50 years since the last time he walked calling for peace, today in Stockton more than 100 people of all ages gathered to honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

"It’s important because of what he stood up for," said Emosi Raura, coach for Big Valley Track Club. "It’s something for these kids to take with them as they go. I know some of them would not understand what he stood up for, but this is a good time for them to be out here celebrating what he was known for."

The Stockton branch of the NAACP hosted the first Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. 5k and 10k Run and Walk in downtown Stockton, with two goals in mind.

"People in the community are recognizing that we need to stop the violence, primarily, and that they need to be more health conscious," siad NAACP President Bobby Bivens.

After dancing the wobble and cupid shuffle, Mayor Michael Tubbs got the runners and walkers ready with one of Dr. King’s famous quotes.

"He said, 'If you can’t fly, run. If you can’t run, walk. If you can’t walk, crawl. But, by all means, keep moving,'" Tubbs said.

And move they did -- seventh grader Michael Frietas was the first to cross for the 5k, with Arthur Mitchum and many others accepting a medal in honor of Dr. King.

"Honestly, it’s a great feeling to run in this type of event because he’s a great part in history," Frietas explained.

"This is an honor. This is probably the second MLK run I’ve done," Mitchum said. "My running career started in Atlanta, Georgia and they use to honor him with runs and this is the second one I’ve received in his honor, so it’s awesome. It’s awesome."

Some runners, like Bob Tennent, are looking forward to experiencing this for years to come.

"Well, I’d like to be able to run in the 20th one, God willing, and if the creek don’t rise. But it’s a great cause, a great way to get exercise and meet some great people," Tennent said.

Money raised from the event will go to groups that will help raise awareness for health education in the Stockton community.