Preview of Joplin Memorial Run set for Saturday

May 1—A free preview for the final Joplin Memorial Run will be held Saturday.

The preview allows trial runs and walks of the 5K, 10K and half-marathon courses before race day.

Those who wish to participate are asked to meet at 6:45 a.m. Saturday at Memorial Hall/Cornell Complex in the area of Eighth Street and Joplin Avenue. The run will start at 7 a.m. Participants must supply their own food and drinks.

The official Joplin Memorial Run and its associated events will be held Friday, May 17, and Saturday, May 18. This will be the last year of the run, which honors the 161 people who died as a result of the 2011 tornado.

Banners bearing the names of those whose lives were lost have been displayed each year of the run with a Friday night walk through the banner display along part of the race route ahead of the Saturday race.

Family members can find out how to submit a request to receive their loved one's banner by going to The banners will be given out at 11:30 a.m. Saturday, May 18, at the memorial sculpture on the southeast corner of the Harry M. Cornell Arts & Entertainment Complex at 212 W. Seventh St.

Organizers of the race announced Nov. 1 that the run would end this year for a number of reasons.

Audie Dennis, president of the board of directors of Active Lifestyle Events Inc., which has staged the annual run, said previously that the board discussed many scenarios in which the event could continue, "but at the end of the day, this seemed to be the only logical decision."

Dennis said a variety of factors played a part in the decision, including declining numbers that are reflective of a national slide in participation in such events over the last several years. There also is staff and volunteer fatigue because of the number of hours needed each year to prepare and oversee the run.

"It takes literally hundreds of volunteers to put on this event each year," he said. "And many of our committee members have been faithful to this event for many years, but they are tired."

Walk of Silence/ Memorial Run

The Walk of Silence honoring the victims of the 2011 tornado will be held at 7 p.m. Friday, May 17.

Races will be held May 18 and include:

—The Freeman half-marathon.

—The Sparklight 10K.

—The Liberty 5K.

—The Sign Designs Kids mile run.

Race officials initially said they were expecting upward of 2,500 runners this year.

Registration is still open for this year's final run. Race officials said volunteers also are needed.

Details can be found at