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1st place medalist Martinez wins TPG’s 5 K

Conexión San Angelo newsroom, Jim Sánchez

Photo courtesy of Martinez San Angelo Police Department Patrol Officer, Luke Martinez was the first-place medalist at this year’s Texas Police Games’ 5K run held on Wednesday, June 15, 2022.

SAN ANGELO –31 runners took on a race course that challenged even the best conditioned athletes due to the laid out hilly terrain, and windy conditions. This year’s Texas Police Games’ 5K run was held at the Bentwood Country Club, 21 Clubhouse Lane.

The first-place and second-place winners in the TPG’s 5K, and one particular runner who came in last, had equal status and attention for different reasons.

First-place medalist, San Angelo patrol officer Luke Martinez, a 3-year veteran, turned in a time of 21:09, followed by Sugarland PD officer, George Rivera whose 21.47 time was good enough for second-place.

Officer Martinez what prompted you to compete in this year’s 5K? “I guess I was ready for some competition and so I decided to run it. The downhill slope got me on the last 1 and ½ mile, also the fact I had only trained for a 3-mile.”

The runner who finished last, SAPD Sgt. John Chappa got a lot of support from his fellow law enforcement “blue” family members. Sgt. Chappa contracted COVID-19 last July 2021, then developed a blood clot which caused a stroke. It was an uphill battle to get to this day, June 15, 2022 and compete, but Chappa was determined to get back to some normalcy in his life. Chappa stated what got him motivated him to take part in the 5K. “I wanted to get back to where I was” I couldn’t just back sit and watch life go by. I wanted to be a part of it [this.]” What is your message for those who got the COVID-19 in how to deal with it.? “Don’t quit. And don’t look for the finish line, just focus on your next step.”

Chappa credited his support group, one therapist and two occupational therapists who were there to cheer him on. Although only two medals were awarded to the top finishers, John Chappa was certainly worthy of a third-place medal. His focus on the first step, led to the last one when he crossed the finish line, conquering COVID-19 and the obstacle course.

photos were provided by Jessica Chappa

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