Lace Up Your Running Shoes and Bonnets!
Summer heat, barbecues, swimming, fireworks or maybe hiking … for many of us, celebrating Utah’s heritage on July 24 will include enjoying many of these fun activities with family. But for approximately 20,000 people, Pioneer Day will begin with the annual tradition of honoring an ancestor by running in the largest race in Utah, the Temple to Temple 5K.
Free Family Fun for All
Young and old, friends and families, walkers and runners, strollers, and even a festive few dressed as pioneers—this is a community race, in every sense of the word. For years, volunteers have given generously of their time, a few local businesses have donated water or protein bars and, most importantly, two families have chosen to make this race a labor of love, simply because they know it matters to people, most they will never know personally.
Race organizers, Eric and Kathleen Speckhard and Ray and Cindy Butcher started the race in 2013, while the Provo City Center Temple was under construction. As it happened, the Provo Temple was exactly 3.1 miles away from the newly-completed temple and, just like that, a 5K race was born.
The couples planned the event for an estimated 500 neighbors, friends and church members, but were beyond surprised when 5,000 showed up the first year. Then the number doubled to 10,000 in the second year, 14,000 in the third and for the last three years, the Temple to Temple 5K, has averaged between 18-21,000. This “little race that could” is now the largest race in Utah and the organizers hope more families will continue to join in the fun.
“We’d love to break the record for the largest 5K race in the country, 30,000 is the magic number,” said Eric Speckhard.
“We had four family members participate, ages 8 to 70. We enjoyed our experience so much that we are encouraging our entire extended family to come and run with us next year.” –Marilee, race participant.
Honoring Ancestors and Celebrating Family
I’m running in memory of __________________.
Every step of the Temple to Temple 5K, a runner need only glance down at their runner’s bib to see the name of the person they are honoring with their race.
“What better way to honor our loved ones who have passed, those who have loved and inspired us, than by enjoying life with family and friends, as they would want us to,” Speckhard, one of the race organizers.
The theme of family runs like a vibrant, silver thread through every aspect of the Temple to Temple 5K. It is truly the inspiration. The purpose of the race has and always will be a way for families to connect, both with their families who participate with them, as well as ensuring the memory of those who have passed on is shared.
“It’s all worth it when you see a grandpa holding hands with his grandson as he shares tales of his father, the man for whom he’s walking, and a man the grandson will never know, but through his grandpa’s stories,” said Speckhard.
“This was our family’s first time participating and we had a delightful time. We could see many hours of hard work, dedication and sacrifice all who helped contributed.” –Charles, race participant
Pioneer Children Sang As They Walked and Walked and Walked
Now it’s your turn. What better way to honor the sacrifices of the pioneers who settled Utah then to walk in their footsteps and in their honor?
So, who will you be walking for?
“It was our first time for the race and we had lots of fun. We had 20 or 21 from our family, most of us walked, but we all enjoyed it, even the youngest twins, aged 5, walked the whole way. It is a given from now on that whoever of our family will be in Provo over the 24th, will walk (some run) in this race.” Liz, race participant.
Wednesday, July 24
Race begins at 8 am, participants are encouraged to arrive at 7-7:15 am
The race begins at the Provo LDS Temple and treks through the beautiful streets of Provo City, past Brigham Young University campus and finishes at the Provo City Center LDS Temple. Review the race route map here.
Everyone who likes free family fun
Did I mention it was free?
Run for FREE, purchase a shirt, if desired, for $9 or a shirt and race chip for $13