Whether it was the beautiful weather, the need to escape yet another hurricane or simply the need to celebrate all things fireAnt, both the FireAnt 5K and the Tour de FireAnt ride boasted high participation on Saturday.

“When the weather turned favorable, they said, let’s roll,” Greater Marshall Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Stacia Runnels said.

Gathering in downtown, the bike ride, which gave cyclists the opportunity to choose from 30, 45 mile and 100K routes took off in full force with more than 100 cyclists participating on Saturday morning. A Yeti cooler was given away at the end of the race.

A 5K run kicked off later in the morning with about 60 runners. All participants got to have pizza and beer, around 11 a.m., after the conclusion of the events.

“We were thrilled with the turnout for the annual Tour de FireAnt bike ride and the FireAnt 5K! ETBU brought cross country team members, running and cycling clubs from all over the region joined in, and we even had a registrants from the Conroe area. We welcomed travelers displaced from the hurricane, and were so glad they could participate and have that diversion,” Runnels said. “Our deepest thanks to the annual FireAnt Committee, our Chamber staff, Judge Chad Sims-5K organizer, and Christy and Paul Godwin of Grasshopper Lawn Care-Tour de FireAnt organizers. Paul and Christy have been involved with the ride for roughly 19 years, making this year certainly a momentous one! Next year, we hope to have our athletic events back in their proper space amid a full day of FireAnt Festival activities, but until then, we celebrate a year of just ‘making it across the finish line!’ With thanks also to the city of Marshall for working with the chamber to provide a fun, outdoor event that so many in the community were eagerly anticipating.”

In lieu of the larger event, including the FireAnt Festival, which would not have complied with current state COVID-19 restrictions, the chamber opted for a number of smaller events to raise funds.

Runnels said that the chamber will also host a virtual toddler trot and kids k event on Halloween this year.

“Kids and their families can dress us in costumes and participate where ever they want to, and we will have a place for people to submit photos of their participants as well,” Runnels said.

The kids race this year is sponsored by Genesis Prime Care, according to Runnels.

The event will take place at 9 a.m. Oct. 31, and registration is $10. All participants will receive a swag bag.

For more information on any Chamber events, or to register in advance go to www.facebook.com/FireantFestivalMarshall/.