From: Missouri Division of Tourism [mary.oberreither@ded.mo.gov]
Sent: Wednesday, January 08, 2014 3:56 PM
To: exdir@pacificchamber.com
Subject: Enjoy Missouri's Fun Runs

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 Missouri on the Run

Jefferson City, Mo. – New Year’s Resolution: get fit. New Year’s suggestion: take up fun runs.

Any resolution is hard to keep: 75 percent make it through the first week in January. Only 46 percent make it past the first of June. But with fun runs, you can keep your resolution and break it at the same time!

Fun runs incorporate a little imagination, a little creativity and the proper incentive.

“I think it’s the cupcakes,” said Deanna Kakouris, regional manager of Big Shark Bicycle Company.

Cupcakes? Yes. Big Shark and Lift for Life Academy in St. Louis co-sponsored the Gateway Cup Cake and Bottle Cap Dash as a benefit for the alternative middle and high school. An informal survey of seven women waiting to begin the race confirmed Kakouris’ statement: five of them admitted they came for the cupcakes from Jilly’s Cupcake Bar and Café, a popular St. Louis eatery.

“We’ve had people come from out of state: Wisconsin, Iowa, Minnesota, Michigan; and a lot of them had heard about it from friends of theirs that have shared that the event was so much fun that they came only for this reason,” said Kakouris.

And who wouldn’t? Jilly’s won “Cupcake Wars” on the Food Network.

The 5K racecourse in St. Louis’ Forest Park is interspersed with five cupcake stations. “Eaters” (those running for the cupcakes, as opposed to serious runners/”Non-Eaters”) stop at each station and choose a small or large cupcake. They are required to remain in the corral at the station until the treat is finished. At the end of the race, five minutes are deducted from a participant’s race time for each large cupcake and three minutes for each small one consumed. The catch is, runners have to keep them down.

The second event, the Bottle Cap Dash, throws a little twist into the race: obstacles, some physical, some mental. As racers overcome obstacles, they select a bottle cap. At the end of the race, they are rewarded with the varieties of beer – or soft drinks – they chose.

 
Approximately 1,000 runners from throughout the Midwest – many of them in theme clothing or costumes – participated in the races. So using a little creativity works for race organizers and is a huge success for the charities the races support. There is no end to the inventiveness. Just a short dash into the events ahead proves both amusing and intriguing:

Relive high school at Bad Prom in Kansas City in May, where the race course takes you through the kitschiest prom themes ever. Racers are dressed for a big night out and there’s as much dancing as running.

Fulfill a favorite athletic fantasy at Finish on the 50 Chiefs 5K, also in May. The course takes runners through the tunnel onto the field at Arrowhead Stadium and ends at the 50-yard-line. Reverberating public address system announcing your name not included.

Also in Kansas City, celebrate Valentine’s Day by getting down to the basics – if you dare – at Cupid’s Undie Run in the Power and Light District. St. Louis has a similar run on Feb. 15, starting at Syberg’s.

They may not be faster than a speeding bullet, but runners honor everyday heroes, and certainly look the part while doing it, at June’s Superhero Dash in St. Charles.

St. Louis really knows how to celebrate Valentine’s Day the old-fashioned way: lots of chocolate. This year they’re combining the 4-mile Run for the Chocolate with the 2-mile Truffle Shuffle. Race categories include Bachelor/Bachelorette, Off the Market, Cougar Women, Serial Dater Men and “It’s Complicated.” Dessert date prizes, goodie bag treats and edible medals are provided by Bissinger’s Chocolate.

 Celebrate the holidays by running with bells on – literally – at the Jingle Bell Run/Walk in Columbia and Cape Girardeau to raise donations to fight arthritis. In fact, this is a favorite race theme in towns across the state in December.

Another great holiday-themed race is December’s Ugly Sweater Run in Joplin. A side benefit is that (unlike the Undie Runs), you’ll stay toasty in Missouri’s brisk winter weather.

A very popular theme for racing events is the Color Run. Check out Cape Girardeau’s Color Me Cape in April and Cajun Color in Reeds Spring in May.

The 2014 Gateway Cup Cake and Bottle Cap Dash is already scheduled for Nov. 8.

If these races don't get your blood pumping, up the stakes with a Zombie Run. Springfield, Columbia, Kansas City and St. Louis all have the walking dead running around town March 1.

For some, these quirky fun runs are just not enough of a challenge. If you like your races hardcore, there are more demanding yet still creative adventure runs. Spartan Races, Warrior Dashes, Fugitive Runs, Tough Mudders, marathons and half-marathons dot the Show-Me State racing events calendar.

If a tougher run is appealing, be sure to check out the Sandmine Challenge in Crystal City in February. The event combines running with spelunking. It’s held underground in an old sand mine, with a 4-mile course that winds over sand dunes, under an air shaft and around underground lakes. It’s listed by CNN as one of “10 Ultimate U.S. Adventures.”

Combine challenging and quirky with August’s Foam Fest in St. Louis, featuring mud pits, army crawls, cargo net climbs and a 3-story inflatable side with obstacles that are filled with fluffy white foam.

New for 2014, KT82 presents a serious challenge to serious runners: an 82-mile trail relay from Creve Coeur Park in St. Louis County to Hermann. Most of the course is on the scenic Katy Trail, with the run scheduled for August 30. The relay is open to six- and three-person teams and is divided into male, female and mixed divisions. Due to the popularity of the race, a special lottery registration will be held February 3-17.

Whether you’re dodging zombies, inhaling cupcakes or getting dusted in paint, running has gotten fun. No more excuses. It’s time to get in the race ... in Missouri.

About the Missouri Division of Tourism
The Missouri Division of Tourism (MDT) is the official tourism office for the state of Missouri dedicated to marketing Missouri as a premier travel destination. Established in 1967, the Missouri Division of Tourism has worked hard to develop the tourism industry in Missouri to what it is today, an $11 billion industry supporting more than 281,000 jobs. For more information on Missouri tourism, go to http://www.VisitMO.com.


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Contact: Stephen Foutes, Communications Manager
Missouri Division of Tourism
573-751-3208
Stephen.Foutes@ded.mo.gov
@MoTravelGuy

Contact: Stephanie Lynch, PR and Social Media Manager
Missouri Tourism News Bureau
314-454-3454
SLynch@handlpartners.com
@NtheMO

 


Missouri Division of Tourism
PO Box 1055
Jefferson City, Mo. 65102
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