More than 2,000 runners turned out to the first annual Vicki Soto 5k in Stratford, Conn., Saturday morning.
The event honored the teacher’s heroism while raising money to continue her legacy.
The route along the Lordship section of Stratford was lined with 300 flamingoes, Soto’s favorite bird. Runners also donned flamingo costumes and pink tutus in her memory.
“We had to do the pink hair, the pink eyelashes and the pink flamingo sunglasses,” her sister Jillian Soto said. “If she were here, she would have been the crazy one with the outfit on.”
It has been nearly 11 months since Vicki Soto shielded her students from the gunman who killed her at Sandy Hook Elementary. Her family is still trying to come to terms with what happened.
“It still feels like it was only yesterday. I look back and think we are in November already,” her brother Carlos Soto said. “It still doesn’t feel real at all.”
The community’s support was so strong at the race, organizers ran out of t-shirts and numbers. All of the runners had to pay a $26 entry fee, in honor of the 26 lives lost in Newtown.
They helped raise more than $50,000 for the Vicki Soto Memorial fund, a scholarship set up for future teachers.
The family says they plan to have a Vicki Soto 5k every year to make sure their hometown hero’s legacy lives on.