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2nd Annual Mustache Dash Celebrates Philanthropic Facial Hair

2nd Annual Mustache Dash Celebrates Philanthropic Facial Hair

The 2nd Annual Mustache Dash at North Lakes Park in Denton. Proceeds of the Mustache Dash go toward the ministries of First Refuge who offer spiritual, emotional and physical aid to Denton County. Jackie Torres

2nd Annual Mustache Dash Celebrates Philanthropic Facial Hair
April 08
21:56 2017

The sun may have hardly risen, but about 300 runners had already gathered in their blue t-shirts at North Lakes Park for a quirky Saturday morning charity event, perfectly fit for Denton.

The 2nd Annual Mustache Dash took place on April 1. Fooling aside, the 5K and 10K races were an amusing fundraiser to support First Refuge Ministries of Denton.

“We are an outreach resource program,” said Rachel Villarreal, an intern at First Refuge Ministries and a senior human resources major at UNT. “We are the only free dental clinic in Denton County. We offer counseling for individuals, families and groups. We offer chiropractic services, we have a medical clinic and we also are working on a pharmacy. We also have a food pantry on site.”

Villarreal played a major role in helping plan this year’s dash, which was followed by a post-race awards ceremony, games, food and Zera coffee for attendees to enjoy.

“We’re focusing on the fundraising part, where people are signing up for the run,” Villarreal said. “Trying to plan the logistics of that when you’re a fundraiser is really hard. But we have had a few experts throughout Denton County who have decided to partner with us and volunteer with us for free.”

The runners of the dash helped raise $25,000 to go towards all these services, according to Paul Juarez, executive director of First Refuge Ministries. This money came from both registration fees as well as donations from individuals, whether they ran in the dash or not.

“We’ve had runners share the link to donate online on their Facebook, and people they haven’t talked to in 15 years will donate to us,” Villarreal said. “So it’s really cool to see all that happening.”

The diverse turnout of runners represented the conglomeration of Denton’s population.

Edgar Dominguez, a 25-year-old t-shirt printer and native of Chihuahua, Mexico, was thrilled to participate in the morning’s race. With a beard as big as his smile, he admitted that his English knowledge was slim, but he was excited to endorse a cause he supported.

Paul Juarez, ministry director for First Refuge, grew his elaborate mustache specifically for the Mustache Dash. Jackie Torres

He’s even more passionate about his facial hair. He said he has maintained his beard with special oil and shampoo for over seven years, and he doesn’t plan on shaving anytime soon.

“We really just wanted to keep the theme something fun and catchy,” Juarez said. “Austin has ‘Keep Austin Weird,’ but we have ‘Keep Denton Beard.'”

Juarez has served as executive director of First Refuge Ministries since September 2015. During the planning of last year’s first annual Mustache Dash, Juarez said the funny theme came to him at an unexpected time.

“I was in line at the grocery store with my wife and the guy in front of us has this crazy mustache,” Juarez said. “By the time we got to the car, I had come up with Mustache Dash.”

The theme was evidently a hit. Whether participants were bare-faced, bearded or adorned with stick-on mustaches, the runners seemed to get a kick out of Juarez’s idea for the second consecutive year.

“A lot of people honestly just really like saying ‘Mustache Dash,'” Villarreal said. “We have a lot of runners who grow facial hair just for the dash.”

Runners weren’t the only people who changed up their look for the event.

“I only grew this for the race,” Juarez said, twirling the ends of his handlebar mustache. “My wife hates it. It’ll be gone tomorrow.”

Even if the facial hair doesn’t see another day, the funds and memories created by the 2nd Annual Mustache Dash are sure to last.

Featured Image: The 2nd Annual Mustache Dash at North Lakes Park in Denton. Proceeds of the Mustache Dash go toward the ministries of First Refuge who offer spiritual, emotional and physical aid to Denton County. Jackie Torres

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Abby Jones

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