The half marathon race is on a single track trail through Thousand Hills State Park. Participants can register for the event through Oct. 3 for a $50 entry fee. The money raised from the race benefits the Forest Area Trail System.
Race co-directors Royce Kallerud and Dan Martin said they started working on the FLATS Trail, an effort to get a paved trail between the town and Thousand Hills State Park, about 10 years ago. Kallerud said a few years after they started that project, race founder Ivy Koger created the half marathon race to support the trail. Kallerud said the race raised about $5,000 for the FLATS Trail last year. The FLATS project is now on phase 3.1, which involves building a trail starting at the corner of Osteopathy and Missouri streets and travel west for 0.7 miles.
Koger said he created the race because there were many runners in Kirksville who were seeking out the best places in the area for a scenic run. He said about 75 people attended the race in its first year, and since then it has grown.
Koger said he is excited the half marathon has grown so much and more people are getting to experience the trail. He also said he is happy the event is growing to provide real help to the FLATS Trail.
Koger said one of his goals during his time in Kirksville was to leave a lasting positive impact before he moved out of the city.
“That race, for me, is like one of the very few things in my whole life that I built that I can say I take a lot of pride in,” Koger said. “I’m really thrilled it worked out, and I am really happy they still have it, and I hope it lasts forever.”
While building the FLATS Trail is important, Martin said one of the main goals of the race is to get people out to the park to experience the trail.
For more, pick up a copy of The Index on Thursday, Sept. 27.