CleftStrong sends many thanks to everyone who joined the 10th annual CleftStrong 5k Benefiting the American Cleft Palate-Craniofacial Association (ACPA). Christus Health was the 2023 CleftStrong 5k 6th year Presenting sponsor, making this a successful event for the community another year! This event was held virtually across the states and in San Antonio, Tx on Sunday, October 8, 2023 at Eisenhower Park. Our Nation's red, white, and blue spirit sprinkled the 5k grounds this morning with an all new patriotic theme while cooler temperatures made their presence too, this year! It was the perfect fall morning, with several hundred amazing hearts supporting a very worthy cause.
All proceeds raised from the annual CleftStrong 5k & Kids Run support advancing cleft and craniofacial medical research, patient care, and a world where individuals with cleft and craniofacial conditions THRIVE. Several familiar smiles, and many new ones joined this year with great enthusiasm, pride and a sense of togetherness.
Some special highlights this year included welcoming Dr. Elizabeth Roeder, Clinical Geneticist at Christus Children's Craniofacial Team and Section Chief of the Genetics Clinic at Christus Children's Hospital in San Antonio, Tx. Dr. Roeder welcomed all participants this year, along with the Executive Director of the American Cleft Palate-Craniofacial Association, Mr. Adam Levy, an avid runner himself, and this year's 5k leading pacer! Additionally, ACPA Senior Manager of Development and Strategic Partnerships, Ms. Charlene Bell was in attendance for a third year, handing out resources for CleftStrong 5k participants. As always, we send our sincerest appreciation to the American Cleft Palate-Craniofacial Association for their heartfelt mission. To connect with ACPA, and view the many resources they provide for the craniofacial community along with the support your participation made this year, please click here.
It was a very special pleasure to welcome the Hidden Forest Elementary Falcon singers from NEISD to present this year's National Anthem for a third year and Mr. Jeremy Montanez who led our participants in a race warm up. Thank you all for your leadership and for volunteering your time!
Congratulations to all 2023 CleftStrong 5k race winners this year. Mr. Austin Somlo finished as the Top Overall Male Finisher, coming in at 18:50.4 and Ms. Jessica Rivera finished as the Top Overall Female Finisher, coming in at 25:42.6. We congratulate all 2023 CleftStrong 5k finishers! To view a complete list of results for all age category winners, please click here.
A huge shout out goes to our FIRST EVER timed finishers for the 2023 CleftStrong 1 KM Kids Run! Thomas Ojeda with Team Falcon's Soar took home the 1st place finisher medal coming in at 4:08.7, Max Lavender with Team Falcon's Soar went home with the 2nd place finisher medal coming in at 4:10.1 and Brooks Moeller, also with Team Falcon's Soar, was the recipient of our 3rd overall finisher medal completing his race at 4:12.5! Way to Go to all 2023 CleftStrong Kid Runners. We congratulate all of you for the race you finished this year and waking up early to support others! Click here to view a complete list of results for the 2023 Kids Run Competitive race here!
We had the pleasure of handing out several other fun awards this year. Congratulations to our Best Patriotic Adult costume recipient: Ms. Nancy Anderson! As we always say, far beyond a fun costume contest, there is a special energy that comes with people using creative minds to create joy. Thank you for your fun spirit!
Congratulations to our largest 5k team: Team Kayce's Pit Crew from California! Team Kayce's Pit Crew is a repeat largest team recipient and holds a special place in our hearts. Fellow mom in the cleft community, Mrs. Sarah Garber, is a volunteer remote CleftStrong Committee Member, and has been over the past several years. She remotes in several months of the year to plan out the annual 5k event as our Virtual Race and Social Committee Chair. She rounds up an amazing troop across the states in support of their son, Kayce, and although we would much rather her be here with us, we are always so very grateful for all of her hard work remotely, to lead the way for the CleftStrong mission and so many other on the cleft medical journey.
Congratulations to our Highest Fundraising Team: Riley's Runners! Thank you for your great efforts to raise money for the cause. Riley's mom is a 2nd year Committee Member who dedicates several months of hard work to all creative things you see at this event! She is the super smile behind all of the colorful decorations, this year's festive 10th year celebration, and so much more with the CleftStrong 5k! Team Riley's Runners also rallied together a team of In Person 5k participants, as well as personal donors from the Texas area. So much love for Riley, his Mom, Mrs. Cecile Montanez and Dad, Mr. Jeremy Montanez!
We'd also love to give a shout out to our Largest Kids Run Group here in San Antonio, Texas: Falcon's Soar! Thank you for bringing great support for your schoolmate and friend, Richie! You all are the very BEST!
To all those who supported a team near and afar, we send great thanks to you for your support and we hope this was a morning to remember for you and your team!
We were honored this year, through the American Cleft Palate-Craniofacial Association's presentation to CleftStrong of a Proclamation from the City of San Antonio signed by Mayor Ron Nirenberg, which declared Sunday, October 8, 2023 as the 10th Annual CleftStrong 5k Day. This was a wonderful surprise and shows recognition for everything that the CleftStrong organization and its supporters have done in the past 10 years. We hope all participants, volunteers, and supporters feel this recognition and can see the impact that each and every one of you make toward the greater good. Thank you ACPA, for the work you put into making this happen!
To each and every CleftStrong 5k team this year, YOU ABSOLUTELY ROCK! We know there are so many worthy causes. We thank you for choosing our mission to support this October 8th!
Great thanks to Winston Churchill Cross Country for coming out to support our 5k this year! These amazing volunteers arrived well before sun up and stayed well past the closure of our event to lend a hand in any way they could! Thank you Coach Bonner for presenting this option to your students and coordinating their amazing work. You are an amazing leader and have an amazing group of ladies surrounding you!
A heartfelt thank you to this year's Emcee and fellow mom in the cleft community, former TV News Anchor and Reporter, and current Public Relations Specialist for Presenting Sponsor Christus Children's and Christus Santa Rosa Health System, Mrs. Gloria Madera and her beautiful family including the adorable Archie! #TeamArchieStrong
As always, thank you to Dr. Garcia de Mitchell, Dr. Peter Wang and the Cleft and Craniofacial Teams at Christus Children's, and Methodist Children's for the dedication, love and support every one of you bring to the cleft and Craniofacial community -- in and outside of the medical setting over the past 10 years. You are our heroes!
2023 CleftStrong Virtual racers included those from Minnesota, Colorado, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Oklahoma, New York, North Carolina, Utah, Michigan, California, Massachusetts, Maryland, Ohio, Washington, Iowa, Florida, Alabama, Minnesota, and Arizona! Wow!! We were with you in spirit all the way from San Antonio, Texas and loved seeing the pictures come our way. If you haven't already, please send some pictures our way to @cleftstrong5k and/or #cleftstrong5k!
To all of our participants personally connected to the cause all around the country, this was your day to remember the strength you gained, the victories you have made, and the love in this world. We hope that you store the memories from this morning in a special place in your heart for many years to come. To all of our participants who are not personally connected to the cause and came to support, we know there are many worthy causes to support. We thank you for choosing ours on October 8th and we hope you enjoyed. You make the world a better place!
To our corporate sponsors and personal donors, thank you for believing in our mission and choosing our organization to support! If you would like to be a part of next year's event, please contact us here. Thank you for making this event possible and successful in its mission!
We would like to recognize and thank the amazing 2023 5k Volunteer Committee for bringing their A+ game every step of the way to put this event together in such a fun and organized way with their team of volunteers! Each one of our Committee Chairs volunteer months of their time to make this event all that it is and we value their dedication always.
2023 CleftStrong 5k Committee Chairs:
Sarah Garber - Virtual Race + Social Coordinator
Gloria Madera - Emcee and Public Relations Coordinator
Ashley Snyder - Kids Zone and Run Coordinator
Brittany Roohan - Awards Coordinator
Stephanie Hernandez - Sign in and Registration Coordinator
Cristina Munoz - Volunteer Central and Welcome Coordinator
Hector Hernandez - Set up and Take Down Coordinator
Analia Rivera - Family in Need Raffle Sale Coordinator
Cecile Montanez- Decorating Coordinator
Looking forward to YEAR 11!
Ray and Chelsea Ortiz
CleftStrong Co-Founders & Race Directors
When our cleft journey began back in 2013, we asked God to take the wheel. We would have never imagined that He would take us into the unfamiliar territory of directing a race. We thank God that we have met amazing friends like you all through His ultimate plan. Here's to moving forward even stronger another year! We send our love from our family to yours!
and speaking of the 11th annual cleft strong 5k...
we can't wait!
As hard as you fight, we will strive to fight alongside you.