A new event, the “Walk of Silence,” will be held this year in conjunction with the Joplin Memorial Run.
Run organizers also will give out newly designed medals and T-shirts, announced Audie Dennis, chairman of Active Lifestyle Events Inc., the organization that annually stages what has become a run to remember the 161 people who died as a result of the 2011 tornado and to help rebuild Joplin.
It is the only scheduled event to be announced so far in remembrance of the Joplin tornado. The city of Joplin will not have a ceremony on May 22 as it has the past two years.
This year’s Joplin Memorial Run and associated events will start at noon Friday, May 9. There will be a last-chance registration and packet pickup for runners at Missouri Southern State University, along with a vendor expo that will be open until 9 p.m.
The Kids Run will be held at 6 p.m. that day, with registration open from 4 to 5:45 p.m. at Memorial Hall. Joplin Avenue will be closed to traffic for the children’s one-mile event. The entry fee is $10, and parents may run with their children. All of the entrants will receive a goody bag and a T-shirt, and those who finish will receive medals.
Home Depot will hold an activity at the finish line.
The new “Walk of Silence” will begin at 7 p.m. May 9, starting at Eighth Street and Joplin Avenue. It will be an 11-block walk through the memorial banners that list those who died as a result of the tornado.
Those banners were new to the run last year. “Those were just extremely well-received,” Dennis said. “If you drove down Joplin (Avenue) the night before the run, traffic was heavy with people driving by slowly looking at all the banners. Some people were getting out and finding a loved one, family or friend’s banner, and spending time there. It was quickly evident how meaningful that was to the community.”
That is why the organizers decided to add the “Walk of Silence” this year, he said.
The half-marathon and 5K runs will be held Saturday, May 10, opening with final announcements and instructions at 6:15 a.m. The half-marathon kicks off at 6:30 a.m. at Eighth Street and Joplin Avenue, and the 5K begins at 6:45 a.m. at the same starting point.
There are 761 runners registered so far this year from 16 states, including Massachusetts, California, Florida and Maine, Dennis said. “We’re tracking to do a little over 2,000 runners coming to Joplin to celebrate with us, to remember, to run, and to help us rebuild and to support our community while they’re here,” he said.
All 5K finishers will get a medal this year, which is new to the event, Dennis said.
There will be live entertainment along the route of the runs and a party afterward. Proceeds of the run will be donated to Rebuild Joplin, which is repairing houses damaged by the tornado.
Information and registration information is located on the run’s website at www.joplinmemorialrun.com.
THERE WERE 2,300 PARTICIPANTS in last year’s Joplin Memorial Run events, and about $26,000 was donated from the proceeds.