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Joplin Memorial Run a chance to honor lost loved ones - KOAM TV 7

Joplin Memorial Run a chance to honor lost loved ones

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More than 3,000 people take part in the Joplin Memorial Run replacing the Boomtown Run.  It was created to provide hope to the Joplin community.

It's a way to honor the 161 lives lost in the May 22nd tornado.  It's also a chance to see Joplin's progress since then.

Before a race runners usually lace up their shoes, however, on Saturday these runners wanted to do something a little different.

Sign a flag.

The Pathfinders are a group of Army soldiers who run to raise money for veterans and their families.  And from start to finish these men carried the Joplin flag.

"Being that we're deeply engrained in our community and that lots of friends are from Joplin and as soldiers, I hate to say it, but we're used to it, so whenever the opportunity came up, you know, we lost a lot of people last year, we wanted to honor those people and honor the City of Joplin the only way the Pathfinders know how and that was to carry something and have them sign it and the thing that made the most sense was getting a Joplin city flag," says Army Staff Sgt.. David Cox.

Race organizers say that the amount of runners participating far exceeded their expectations.

"We had expected, we had capped the 5k Run at 1,000 and we were well beyond that and we ended up having to raise it to 1,500 for the 5k and came very close to that number, we were probably 30 or 40 spots short," says Audie Dennier, a race organizer.

"This run normally only draws a couple hundred to a thousand, this time it's drawn 3,000, that's everybody's goal out here - is to honor our fallen friends and family," says Staff Sgt.. Cox.

Runners participating in the 5K and kids run also carried tokens to remember those we lost last May.  It's a tradition that will be carried on for years to come.

"We hope this is just the beginning," Dennir says.  "We hope to see this thing continue to grow and see how big it can become."

"We've all lost friends and family, regardless of the reason," says Staff Sgt.. Cox.  "I've got a soft spot in my heart for all the people of the city of Joplin and it's more than an honor for us to have the opportunity to do this."

In the next few weeks the Pathfinders plan to have the flag framed and presented at a city council meeting.

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