The warmth of every hug that Janet Cooke gave to almost every runner who crossed the finish line was enough to fight the bitter cold that was in the air. As well as the numbing feeling of not knowing what happened to her daughter, Rachel.
"After 15 years it just fills my heart with joy that this many people would come and brave this kind of weather for Rachel. It's a statement to all parents of missing (children) that people care," Janet said.
Rachel Cooke was last seen on January 10, 2002 running around Lake Georgetown while home from college. On the 15th anniversary of her disappearance, the search for answers remains difficult but the search for support has not.
"We definitley came to support Rachel and think of her when we are running. We ran in this park so many times with her (growing up) and it's great to get back here to think about her," Angie King, Rachel's longtime friend, said.
"Rachel is still here in spirit and we want to reconnect and be here in memory of her no matter what," Katie Proko, Rachel's track and field teammate, said.
"Like the shirt says you never forget. We've never forgot," Shanna Wyant, a childhood friend of Rachel's, said
The goal of Rachel's memorial run is not only help raise money and awareness but also raise the spirits of those still searching for answers. And bring back warm memories of a kind soul.
"She was such a great friend. She was so supportive. She was just very fun, very creative, just a great personality and we miss her dearly," Virginia Coindreau, Rachel's track and field teammate, said.
"There's been ups and downs but there are always people I can call. Tears are good, tears are cleansing. And with this kind of support I'm not giving up. Not for somebody as special as Rachel," Janet said.
Race organizers say they raised over $6,000 and that money will be donated to the Central Texas Chapter of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. Rachel's disappearance is still an open and active case. Anyone with any information is being asked to call the Williamson County Sheriff's Office at 512-943-1300.
You can also contact Williamson County Crime Stoppers online at www.wilcocrimetips.org, email at email@example.com or call 1-800-253-7867.