Riverside Hometown Heroes Honor Run to Support Fallen Police Officers

Officer Andrew Tachias, a former UCR student-athlete who was wounded in a February shooting, is the inspiration behind the 5K and 10K runs

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Andrew Tachias, a UCR grad and member of the Riverside Police Department, is the inspiration for the inaugural Riverside Hometown Heroes Honor Run on Saturday, October 12.

RIVERSIDE, Calif.  —  Several hundred runners are expected to take to the streets around the Arlington Heights Sports Park in Riverside on Saturday, October 12, 2013 for the inaugural Hometown Heroes Honor Run. All proceeds from the 5K and 10K races will go to the Riverside Police Officers’ Assistance Fund, which supports Riverside police officers who have been injured or killed in the line of duty and their families.

Sponsored by the Riverside Police Officers Association, the Honor Run 5K race will begin at 7 a.m. and the 10K race at 8 a.m., with prizes for the top finishers. The day will also feature the Hometown Heroes True Blue Community Fair featuring information and product booths, live music and fitness demonstrations.To register or for more information, visit their website

A PDF of the Honor Run information card is also available for download.

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Riverside Police Officer Andrew Tachias Photo courtesy of Riverside Police Department

The inspiration for the run is UC Riverside alumnus and current Riverside Police Officer Andrew Tachias. A distance runner on the UCR cross country and track and field teams during his undergraduate years, Tachias was on patrol with Training Officer Michael Crain on February 7th, 2013 when they were fired on by Christopher Dorner, a disgruntled former Los Angeles Police Department officer. Crain was killed in the attack and Tachias was hit eight times, suffering injuries, including nerve damage, to both arms.

“We wanted an event that could show Andrew how much support he had in the community and at the same time raise funds to assist him and others officers in the future,” said Riverside Police Detective and Riverside Police Officers’ Association Vice President Aurelio Melendrez, who is race director for the Honor Run.

“With his background as a runner, holding a race as a fundraiser seemed like a no-brainer,” agreed UCR Associate Head Track and Field and Cross Country Coach Nate Browne, one of Tachias’ former college coaches who also served on the Honor Run’s organizing committee.

Tachias, who graduated from UC Riverside in 2009, attended the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department Academy and worked for the Inglewood Police Department before joining the Riverside Police Department in 2012, said he was thankful for the support that he has received during his recovery and rehabilitation of nerve damage in his hands.

“There has been an overwhelming amount of support from the Riverside Police Department, UC Riverside Athletics Department, UCR Police Department, the City of Riverside, all the sponsors and the community,” he said. “I could never thank them enough.”

Andrew Tachias was a member of the UCR Track and Field and Cross Country teams.

Andrew Tachias was a member of the UCR Track and Field and Cross Country teams.

Tachias added that while he feels “undeserving of something so great,” as the Honor Run that “it’s an awesome feeling to have a race in the honor of Officer Crain.”

“I grew up loving to run,” he said. “A lot of the symbolism and character that the sport creates defines the person I am today.”

The Honor Run will also carry a great personal significance for many participants, including Detective John Enriquez, a 2006 graduate of UCR who is one of three members of the UCR Police Department currently signed up to participate. Enriquez worked with Tachias as a community service officer while they were both students and was friends with Crain after they worked a joint UCR-Riverside police patrol together for three years. Finally, Enriquez was dating Nikki Bonaminio, the sister of Riverside Police Officer Ryan Bonaminio who was shot and killed while chasing a suspect on Nov. 7, 2010. The couple were married on September 15, 2013.

“I am doing the Hometown Heroes Honor Run because it’s important to support injured officers as well as fallen officers,” Enriquez said. “They are real life heroes, not Hollywood actors.”

Melendrez said that about 200 runners are currently registered, but that they have space for as many as 3,000 participants.

“That may be ambitious for a first year event,” he said. “But this community has never been short on support for our officers.”

He added that organizers hope to have a large turnout of law enforcement personnel at the Honor Run.

“I would love to see half of those attending be from law enforcement,” he said. “The response from the law enforcement community has been great, each day and night it seems I am fielding calls from local police associations who want to get involved and help or sponsor the event. It is a wonderful feeling to be a part of such a special community such as law enforcement.”

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