For the second straight year,  hundreds gathered to take part in a Veteran’s Day 5K race through downtown Columbia on the Sunday before Veteran’s Day.

Mothers pushed strollers and ran with dogs, active duty military ran with heavy backpacks and those with the “race bug” tried for new best times. Race organizer and veteran, Brooks Herring, who estimates that 450 people attended this year’s event, said he loves seeing the community gather to celebrate.

“I’m thrilled with the turnout, how much it has grown in just one year, and how the community has rallied around this event,” Herring said.

Race winner Owen Williams who was running his first 5K, said he’s glad he can run to honor his friends who have served and those still enlisted. “We just run. They are the heroes,” Williams said.

All proceeds from the event support Friends of the Fisher House, a network of comfort homes across the country where military and veterans’ families can stay, at no cost, while a family member is receiving treatment. Herring is working to raise enough money to bring a Fisher House to Columbia. He has been granted a plot of land for the home to be built, and all funds from the race are bringing that goal more within reach.

One special finisher was 92-year old Thomas Peel, a “triple threat” veteran who served in World War II, Korean and Vietnam and completed the race for the second year.

Peel hopes to complete in the race again next year and said he is glad the community is taking the time to recognize veterans for their service.

“It makes me very happy to see. It’s wonderful,” Peel said.