Despite rain on Saturday, organizers for the two races that are part of Zachary Elementary Parent Teacher Organization’s Race to Finish fundraising event went ahead with their backup plan: to hold the race anyway.

“I had always said rain or shine, and that’s exactly what happened, but we had both,” said ZEPTO’s Lianne Crawford, event organizer. “We had lots of volunteers who were dedicated to this race as well as the Ainsley’s Angels riders, who desperately wanted the opportunity to participate, so we went ahead with our rain plan, which was to control the wet course safely and have some fun.”

Students, teachers and families participated in a 1-mile fun run, 5K, or both, Saturday in support of the five elementary schools in Zachary.

“The turnout was overwhelming, and our numbers were huge, despite a wet start to the day,” Crawford said. “Overall, 720 participants registered, not bad for a little community like Zachary. These numbers are what bigger cities typically generate, but this speaks volumes as to what people in this community want to participate in — healthy, fun community events that are school-driven and volunteer-driven.”

The highlights of the day were the Zachary firefighters running the mile and 5K in full gear, and the five Ainsley’s Angels, who had people cheering wildly at the finish line, Crawford said.

Zachary Elementary School Principal Dewey Davis, Northwestern Elementary Principal Martha Davis and Zachary Early Learning Center’s Lorrie Wax ran in the event, with ZES winning the teacher participation trophy for having the most teachers registered.

Principals Jennifer Marangos, Rollins Place, and Keisha Thomas, of Copper Mill, participated in the mile run and volunteered throughout the day.

Other highlights were a balloon release in memory of Cherry and Jerry Boudreaux, sponsored by Superior Ford, and a jambalaya cook-off that helped feed the hungry runners.

“I am very grateful and thankful for all the teachers who pulled together, encouraging their students to participate,” Crawford said. “In my eyes, this event is really about our teachers. They are incredible, and we should all support them more.”

Crawford said it was touching to see several children running alongside the five Ainsley’s Angels riders, children with disabilities. Superintendent Scott Devillier presented the five “Angels” with custom-made medals at the finish line.

Race to the Finish winners included:

5K (women): Hannah Curry, 24:25; Jennifer Reitzell, 24:49; and Melanie Anderson, 25:06.

5K (men): Charles Anderson, 17:55; Bradley Marler, 18:45; and Wyatt Barbe, 21:15.

OVERALL MASTERS (women): Belinda Smith, Aimee Charlet and Christy Wojohn.

OVERALL MASTERS (men): Joel Carter, Carroll White and Michael Ackman.

Mile (women): Jaala Thymes, first place; Jakenzie Thymes, second place; and Katy Knecht, third place.

Mile (men): Thomas Ackman, first place; Brandon Blunschi, second place; and Carson Dayton, third place.

The jambalaya cook-off winner was Rhett Messer.

Significant in helping Race to the Finish take off were: Zachary School District office employees; Jesse Cassard and Chrissy Ashford, Zachary Athletic Foundation; Rebecca Silman, race volunteer coordinator; Sherry Turner, registration coordinator; Dr. Elizabeth Hess, donated gift baskets to winners; Greg Barbe, Jeff Goudeau and Susan Hayden, Rocketkidz Foundation; Bret Fairchild, Coca Cola Bottling Company; and ZEPTO board members.