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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

Record participation in 5K at MS race & walk at Muñoz Rivera Park

For the first time, more than 1,000 people lined up in the 5-kilometer race at Sunday’s PR MS Walk held at Luis Muñoz Rivera Park in San Juan.

By The Star Staff

The 12th edition of the PR MS Walk, a family event held at Luis Muñoz Rivera Park in San Juan, concluded with unprecedented success on Sunday.

The event, organized by the Multiple Sclerosis Foundation of Puerto Rico as part of awareness activities during the month dedicated to the fight against the disease, had as its main objective raising awareness about multiple sclerosis and its impact on the island population.

The event was divided into two parts. The first consisted of a 5-kilometer race, which started at 7:30 a.m. and in which, for the first time, more than 1,000 people participated.

“We had never reached this number,” said Lourdes Fernández, executive director of the Multiple Sclerosis Foundation of Puerto Rico. “The time we had the most was in 2020 and it was 800.”

The second part of the event, which started at 8 a.m., was a 3K walk, in which about 3,000 people participated.

The general population, family members, caregivers and health professionals, especially neurologists, and patients participated in the competition, despite everything involved in finishing a 5K race.

“We always have patients who run in the 5K even though it is difficult for them, because of fatigue, because of their symptoms, because of the sun, because of the heat,” Fernández said. “And this year we also had 34 patients who met the goal. We’ve never had that number. It had always been in the 10 or 15 range, but not 34.”

It was clear on Sunday how well the event has been received by both the general population and the medical community that stands in solidarity with patients.

“It’s an event that demonstrates the effort that all these patients make to complete their walk, much owing to their pride,” Fernández said. “So it’s a motivational event that, at the end of the day, the participants leave very satisfied knowing that we’ve raised awareness, … that we’ve made known what the disease is and all the difficulties that it implies, because it’s a complex disease.”

Puerto Rico is estimated to have the highest prevalence rate of multiple sclerosis, a condition of the nervous system that affects the brain and spinal cord, in Latin America and the Caribbean, affecting nearly 5,000 patients.

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