Brown County residents showed their support for fighting mental illness and drug addiction by participating in Saturday’s Cosplay Relay for the Center for Life Resources.

The Center for Life Resources held its fourth annual Cosplay Relay Saturday with more than 30 participants sporting logos and other memorabilia from their favorite fictional, historic or non-fiction heroes as the jogged through Riverside Park.

“It’s a really good time for people to come together and the Race Day Events people here are awesome,” Center for Life Resources CEO Dion White said. “This is our fourth year doing this and it’s an event we look forward to doing … Fundraisers are really important for us because we’re a not-for-profit. A lot of people we work with are indigent and funding is tough. Jobs are hard to come by nowadays.”

Center for Life Resources provides out-patient mental health services and substance abuse treatment for the indigent and individuals with intellectual or developmental disability services for Brown County and six surrounding counties. White said the Cosplay Relay may not be the Center for Life Resources’ biggest fundraiser of the year, but it is a local favorite that seems to always draw a crowd. Among those running were members of the Brownwood Police Department, who was lead by BPD Chief Terry Nichols with members of the S.W.A.T. team in full dress trailing shortly behind. While some plan to be a part of the race months in advance, for race winner Leslie King and his son Elijah showed up to Riverside Park to train for his son’s upcoming middle school cross country meet and left with a medal.

“This is going to sound bad, but we just showed up to run. We found out there was a 5K and figured, well we’re here,” said King, who finished first and third respectively with his son. “It was 15 minutes before it started so we just figured out we would run. It was nice. We run here as much as we can, but we’re used to it. If I’m going to spend money, then I would rather spend it for a good cause. We probably ran it harder because it was a race than we did on our own.”

The first place female runner also had a background in cross country running. Santa Anna freshman cross country runner Hannah Parson, who lives in Bangs, finished second overall and said her joy came from running for a cause while also improving herself.

“I’m in cross country and wanted to train. The course was good. It felt good, like I helped. It just gave me a bit more training,” Parson said.

Although ensconced with substance abuse and mental health issues throughout the week, many of the employees of Center for Life Resources attended the race, giving some of their own money for a cause that means more to them than a paycheck.

“They made me do it, no not really, it was just something to do to get out of the house,” said Melissa Drury, benefit specialist and medical records supervisor for Center for Life. “It’s for a good cause and it’s great to be a part of the community and be involved in things like this. It’s good and good for community awareness, just to let people know what we do and the people we serve. You realize people are aware of their surroundings and that mental illness is an issue.”