The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

May 2011 Joplin tornado

May 18, 2013

VIDEO: Nearly 2,300 take part in second Joplin Memorial Run

JOPLIN, Mo. — Having just cruised across the line to finish in first place in the Joplin Memorial Run’s half-marathon, Andrew Webb paused for a moment to catch his breath and take it all in.

“Halfway through the run, the heat and the hills started catching up with me, but other than that it felt great,” said the 22-year-old Joplin resident, who finished in a little under 1 hour and 17 minutes.

“I remember (May 22, 2011) like it was yesterday. It was definitely a sad day, but I’m thankful to be here and my heart is out to all of the families. This means everything.”

A few minutes behind Webb was Jenna Mutz, also a Joplin resident and the first female half-marathon finisher.

“This is my second year for the run. I came in fourth last year and was about four minutes slower,” Mutz said.

“One of my best friends lost her home in the tornado. She was at home with her husband and 7-month-old baby. I’m tearing up just thinking about how much they struggled. (Running a half-marathon) is nothing compared to what they went through.”

In all, nearly 2,300 runners gathered Saturday morning near Memorial Hall to take part in either the half-marathon, 5K or 1-mile kids run. Formerly the Boomtown Half Marathon and 5K Run, the event was turned into a day of volunteer service several weeks after the 2011 tornado and then rechristened as the Joplin Memorial Run for 2012.

Friends and family lined Joplin Avenue to cheer for the runners as they crossed the finish line. While there was a festival-type atmosphere, those gathered for the event kept in mind the solemn reason for being there.

Wearing blue T-shirts that said “Team Wendy,” family members of Wendy Istas were present to show their support for the memory of their loved one, who had just finished directing a play at Stained Glass Theatre. Istas was one of three people killed when the tornado destroyed the theater.

“My sister is running the half-marathon this year,” said Tracy Happs, Istas’ daughter. “We enjoy getting together as a family and coming out to support my mom and the memories that we have of her.”

Donna and Randy Smith made the drive from Tulsa, Okla., to take part in the half-marathon.

“We came through Joplin right after the tornado and witnessed all of the devastation,” Randy Smith said. “We certainly felt like this race is for a good cause.”

Race director Ruth Sawkins said that she was pleased with the turnout for the second year of the run.

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May 2011 Joplin tornado
  • Local new-home construction catches up to previous pace

    After a slow start early in this fiscal year for Joplin, the construction of new houses has resumed at the pace that existed in fiscal year 2013, when permits for new houses averaged more than 16 per month. Since November, the beginning of Joplin’s fiscal year, permits for 118 houses have been issued for a total cost of $12.8 million. The average value has been about $108,000.

    June 11, 2014

  • 052212 unity walk1_72.jpg SLIDESHOW: One year later, One day of unity, updated Photos from a day of events commemorating the May 22, 2011 tornado anniversary

    May 22, 2012 1 Photo

  • 060314 Farmers rebuild 1_72.jpg Farmers Insurance writes manual based on experience from Joplin disaster recovery

    Joplin’s housing recovery from the 2011 tornado is one for the books. Jeff Dailey, CEO of Farmers Insurance, announced Tuesday that not only will Farmers Insurance stick with Rebuild Joplin to repair and replace the homes left on the local group’s waiting list, but the company also will kick off a similar recovery effort today for the city of Sea Bright, New Jersey, based on a book it has written to expedite disaster recovery that is based on its experience in Joplin.

    June 3, 2014 2 Photos

  • r052214butterflygarden.jpg New park feature opens on tornado anniversary to encourage healing

    Cunningham Park has become an emotional place for Pamela Praytor. The name of her son, Christopher Lucas, is engraved on a monument that stands in the park in memory of the 161 people who were killed in the May 2011 tornado. “Even though I cry when I come, it’s OK,” she said. “It’s part of the healing.”

    May 22, 2014 2 Photos

  • r051214greenbldgs3.jpg Home, business cited as examples of energy efficiency, strength

    Ramona and Charles “Hugh’’ Shields were not the least bit reluctant on Monday to open their new house in the tornado zone to a bunch of strangers who had a lot of questions. “I used to live in a house where I had to wear two pairs of socks in the winter to keep my feet warm — not anymore,’’ said Ramona Shields. “This house is nice and warm in the winter, and nice and cool in the summer.’’

    May 12, 2014 2 Photos

  • Mercy Health System to receive $23 million FEMA grant

    The Federal Emergency Management Agency will provide Mercy Health System of Joplin with $23 million in public assistance funding by the end of the year. The disaster relief was announced Friday by U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill.

    April 25, 2014

  • Respond With Love flower.jpg Joplin pays it forward with flowers; residents asked to return bulbs ‘fostered’ for other towns

    Suzan Morang’s front yard bloomed brightly last year from a colorful array of bulbs that she will happily pass on to someone else this year. Morang, 1207 Xenia Court, is a participant in America Responds With Love, a national nonprofit organization that distributes bulbs to disaster-stricken cities.

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Creator of Joplin-based ‘Dear World’ exhibit features Boston bombing victims in new work

    The messages written on the skin of some Boston Marathon victims may be different, but Joplin residents will recognize the handwriting. Robert X. Fogarty, the creator of the “Dear World: From Joplin with Love” exhibit, took his signature style of photography and inspiration to Boston. Fogarty traveled to Joplin in 2011 and took pictures of community members with inspirational messages written on their bodies in black ink.

    April 21, 2014

  • r041414wildwood.jpg Opening of nursing home another recovery milestone

    Gladys Dutton has done a lot of things in her life, but Monday’s dedication of the Communities at Wildwood Ranch nursing home marked a first. “I’ve never cut a ribbon before,” she said. “I hope I do a good job.” Dutton was one of four residents to participate in the opening of the $8.5 million nursing center that eventually will be home to 120 people.

    April 14, 2014 1 Photo

  • Joplin Redevelopment Corp. preparing for first property sale

    The first sale of property from the Joplin Redevelopment Corp. to Wallace Bajjali Development Partners is scheduled for May 16. The city staff will be working to prepare for that sale, it was discussed on Tuesday at a meeting of the JRC.

    April 9, 2014

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