A 45-year-old tradition was revived before even the faintest outline of the sun could be seen on the morning of Saturday, Nov. 16.
The procession pulled out of the North End Zone Facility – a lead car, an 18-foot trailer carrying members of Missouri Southern’s Kappa Alpha fraternity, junior Mason Olingers running with one of the game balls for that afternoon’s game at Pittsburg State University, and a Jasper County Sheriff’s car, light’s flashing, trailing behind them.
It marked the first time since 2015 that Kappa Alpha has conducted the annual Pigskin Run, in which members run, relay-style, from Missouri Southern to PSU’s Carnie Smith Stadium.
“The idea behind it is two-fold,” said Riley Hartwell, KA president. “In the past, it was to raise school spirit for the Pitt State game and encourage the rivalry there. Now, we’ve added an additional component, which is fundraising for the Muscular Dystrophy Association, which is our national philanthropy.”
The fraternity members raised nearly $3,000 for the MDA this year, through proceeds raised during a 5K and working security at Kansas City Chiefs games. Dr. Alan Marble was on hand for the check presentation after the fraternity members concluded their run nearly six hours after it began.
Of course, a 30-mile run at that hour of the morning requires some extra energy, which Jeff Sims, Missouri Southern’s football coach, was happy to provide along with his coaching staff. They prepared breakfast for the KA members to enjoy before starting their journey.
Pancakes and sausages were on the menu, with members of the football staff grabbing a bite after the run began.
“We like helping students,” said Sims. “They came to us really enthusiastically, and we thought it was an awesome idea. What separates college football from pro football are the traditions.”