It’s said that adverse situations can bring out the best in us. That was without question the case last Thursday evening when, even as the skies opened up, more than 1,500 runners turned up — in more ways than one — at the 2nd Annual Mavs Run This Town 5K, presented by Baylor Emergency Medical Centers. Proceeds benefit the Mavs Foundation.

Although the weather did its best not to cooperate, the race still went on as planned, taking runners through Victory Park and the Design District, then back to Victory Plaza for an after-party. The bright side of running after a downpour: It was quite cool outside, creating favorable temperature conditions for both the most competitive and most casual runners.

Benson Chesang defended his title as champion by finishing the race with an impressive time of 15:18. Not long after, Stefanie Slekis won the woman’s title, completing the course with a time of 18:06. Slekis, a cross country and track coach at the University of North Texas, didn’t run the race last fall but said she was happy to participate this year. She was impressed at every level: from the scenic route and party on the plaza to the finer details like parking and the shirts.

“Everything about it was really nice,” she said. “It was a great event. You drive to Dallas and it’s free to park there, and you’re right by the race course. It was such an A-plus event.”

Slekis said she hadn’t raced in about four months, since her last marathon. But after spending a couple years away from competitive racing to focus on building the program at UNT, she’s getting back into the groove, sharing the same coach with Dawn Grunnagle, last year’s woman’s division winner. The racing community in Dallas runs very deep, but Slekis said she and her husband recognized many of the competitors. According to the race results on, 61 of the 63 fastest times belonged to runners from Texas, almost all of them from the Metroplex.

The after-party was a hit as well, with free beer from Bud Light, bagels, and fruit available to everyone. Food trucks were also on the scene, along with various other vendors. Saint Motel had been slated to perform, but due to the weather conditions the performance was canceled.

But while everyone did get a little wet — or at times very wet — it was clear how much those who stuck around seemed to enjoy themselves. Year Two of the Run This Town 5K certainly didn’t fail to make a splash.

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