McALLEN, Texas (Border Report) — After once again being named the “fattest city” in America, McAllen is taking aggressive steps this year to try to get the community healthier and fit by offering a series of running events.

On Tuesday, city officials in this South Texas border city announced they were hosting five running events in 2022, all leading up to the city’s marathon in January.

It’s all part of what is now being called the Scott Crane Memorial Run Series.

And anyone who participates in all five runs, including a marathon event, will cross the finish line to receive an extra medal in January.

Those who participate in five runs sponsored by the City of McAllen, Texas, in 2022 and then the Jan. 14, 2023, marathon, will receive this extra commemorative medal with charms representing each event throughout the year. City officials unveiled the new medal on March 29, 2022, at the McAllen Convention Center as a way to promote health and fitness in the border community plagued by obesity. (Sandra Sanchez/Border Report)

The running series begins May 7 with a Cinco de Mayo run, followed by a 4K Fourth of July run, and a 5K MXLAN run on July 27 to highlight the border city’s Mexican heritage.

There is a nighttime “Fright Night 5K” on Oct. 15, and a Turkey Trot on Nov. 12.

View more information on the events at the city’s marathon website.

For the first time, the McAllen Marathon will be held on a Saturday, not a Sunday, and will start and end at the McAllen Convention Center. Runners for the half-marathon will do a loop inside the city, and those who participate in the full marathon will do the loop twice.

U.S. District Judge Randy Crane is brother of late McAllen Commissioner Scott Crane. He is seen March 29, 2022, announcing a new Scott Crane Memorial Run Series at the McAllen Convention Center. (Sandra Sanchez/Border Report)

The idea is to have runners cheered on by the community and encouraged for their efforts, said U.S. District Judge Randy Crane, after whose brother, late City Commissioner Scott Crane, the marathon is named.

He told Border Report he hopes the extra hardware, with dangling charms signifying all of the runs throughout 2022, will entice more people to get out and participate.

“It’s our first time to do that. We’ve expanded this event from a one-weekend event to a year-long event by including these aspects of the run series,” Crane said at a news conference Tuesday at the McAllen Convention Center.

McAllen City Manager Roel “Roy” Rodriguez told Border Report that he was disappointed that the city was in 2022 again named the fattest metroplex in the United States, along with the neighboring cities of Mission and Edinburg.

“We keep hearing about surveys around the country and we don’t score well for some reason,” Rodriguez said.

(WalletHub Graphic)

The WalletHub survey released March 14, cited the high number of adults who are obese and overweight on the South Texas border and the health-related consequences of obesity that plague local communities.

Rodriguez attributes a tendency toward obesity to Mexican culture and fatty foods that are prominent on the border.

“Part of our culture here in South Texas and our proximity to Mexico is our diet so we got to keep working,” Rodriguez said.

McAllen City Manager Roel ‘Roy’ Rodriguez on March 29, 2022, at the McAllen Convention Center. (Sandra Sanchez/Border Report)

But he says he hopes having physical events through city streets every few weeks will help to combat the growing girth.

“It’s very exciting for our community to have runs throughout the year,” Rodriguez said.

“Fitness is a journey,” he said. “We go through valleys and peaks. It’s not easy to go out there and get after it every day so we have to be part of that motivation for our community.”