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Thousands Participate in Memorial Run - KOAM TV 7

Thousands Participate in Memorial Run

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JOPLIN, MISSOURI -

More than 3,000 runners help Joplin mark the 5th year of the tornado anniversary with a memorial run. The annual run bigger than ever this year, it’s the first year a full marathon was offered. Some runners came from other states and even other countries, but many also from the area, and personally affected by the tornado.

After a moment of silence for the victims of the tornado, the runners hit the pavement. The route brings them through the tornado zone, a mile of the run lined with memorial flags for each person who lost their life.

“All those names that we passed through, they will never get to experience this but they're watching us from above, watching every minute, every step that we're taking across the line, and that’s what it’s all about. Remembering them and remembering what this community has been through,” says 5K runner Tina Higdon.

For many others, the flags are also motivation. This race isn't about finishing first but a way to honor the victims.

 “It’s just encouraging to run this one, there’s people on the corners cheering you on, and you are, it’s just a special time to run in Joplin, it’s a good vibe and a lot of people really encourage you along the way,” says runner Hailey Housh.

The event also brought out hundreds of volunteers, many who help out every year. A group from American Family Insurance waits at the finish line, handing out medals and towels.

“It is very rewarding we really love to say congratulations, good job and really be a part of you know helping them and making them feel like they really accomplished something,” says Laarni Larkin with the company.

This year more than 3,000 people participated, nearly 400 running in the first ever marathon in Joplin.

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