Cupid’s Chase 5K brings out runners to help people with developmental disabilities

There were lots of red and pink outfits and hearts and even more than a few wings on display Saturday morning, but even with Valentine’s Day on the horizon, the occasion had nothing to do with romance.

The annual Cupid’s Chase 5K brought together nearly 200 runners, walkers and rollers to raise money for Community Options, a New Jersey-based nonprofit that develops community-based homes and entrepreneurial employment opportunities for people with developmental disabilities.

Three families pushing developmentally disabled kids in strollers were the first to start the 5K. Some of the participants were members of Ainsley’s Angels, a group that participates in similar races all over the U.S. to build awareness about America’s special needs community through inclusion in all aspects of life.

“It’s all about everyone being able to enjoy life and be part of things,” said spectator Stephanie Tassoni. “Some of us just have it easier than others.”

Nathaniel Carrasco, 21, of Cayce finished first in the 5K, completing the course from the Maxcy Gregg Park starting line in 18:39. In the women’s division, 52-year-old Joey Swearingen of West Columbia claimed the first-place medal with a time of 23:58.