The Roots N Blues N BBQ Festival held the Betsy Farris Memorial 5K Run, 10K Run & Half Marathon on Sept. 29. The event took place at Stephens Lake Park and the race trails extended out to Columbia’s nature paths, the downtown district of Columbia and MU campus. Participants had access to several food tables, including burgers and cold drinks, post-race.
Some participants appreciated the running opportunity despite the not-so-favorable weather. Riley Steinbrecher, a sophomore at MU and participant in the 10K race, felt mixed emotions prior to the start of the race.
“I signed up for this race because I thought it looked really fun and I haven’t raced yet this fall,” Steinbrecher said. “So I thought this would be a good first opportunity without having to travel. I’m very cold and don’t really want to have to run in shorts and a tank top, but I’m excited to see how I finish. I’ve been training for this, so I want to see what my time is.”
Other participants felt a range of emotions post-race as well. Tyler Gray, a freshman at MU, experienced difficulties throughout the race but still managed to earn first place.
“I actually ended up running more because I ran about .2 miles of the 10K race and had to turn around and come back,” Gray said. “I paused and was like, ‘Okay this is the wrong way,’ and had to flip it and run across the roads.”
Gray believes his finishing time would be significantly better had he not accidentally ran the extra distance.
“My finishing time was around 19:40, but since I ended up running more I probably would’ve ran a lot faster.”
Gray felt accomplished in his ability to earn first place even with the extra mileage. He attributes his accomplishment solely to practice.
“I used to be really bad at running at first, but with practice I just kept getting better and better,” he said.
Mike Denehy, the organizer of the event, noticed that the participants were enjoying it. He felt his efforts, despite the weather, contributed to the positive outcome of the event.
“Everything is running smoothly, so it’s so far, so good,” Denehy said. “I mean, we had a little rain this morning which always causes some confusion, but other than that the event is going well and it seems like people are having a good time.”
Denehy said the work that came with planning this event was demanding and took a significant amount of time. Some of the planning included meeting with the city, getting various permits for the trails and working with the festival.
This was Denehy’s first time organizing the event, and he feels grateful for the opportunity to be able to do so.
“My friend Pat Hanson from Ready Set Results has been timing the event for a number of years, but his wife had a baby within the past few weeks and he lives outside of town, so it was a challenge for him to be here,” Denehy said. “I was lucky enough to be able to work with the festival and be the organizer for the event.”
The race’s finish line routed back to Stephens Lake Park where participants were greeted with medals and cheering supporters.
Edited by Siena DeBolt | email@example.com