STRATFORD - The first-ever Vicki Soto 5K, in memory of slain Newtown teacher Victoria Soto, was held this morning in Stratford.

Soto, 27, was hailed as a hero when she was killed trying to protect her first-grade students during the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown last year.

In addition to the 5K, a children's race was held, along with a book drive.

The race started at the Old Allied Signal parking lot on Main Street this morning. It then went through the Lordship section of Stratford, where Soto grew up. Soto's family says she loved flamingos, so race volunteers lined the course with 300 flamingo statues.

Jim Wiltsie, Soto's cousin and a race organizer, says the race was held to keep her memory alive and help her family heal. Proceeds from the race will benefit the Vicki Soto Memorial Fund, which gives scholarships to students who want to become teachers.