benfield-accentsOn Saturday April 27, Missouri Southern, Recreational Services will host the first Annual 75thAnniversary 5K. This event is part of Southern Spree, which will include live music, art and craft show, BBQ and activities for the whole family. This is the grand finale of what has been an extremely fun and busy year!

Southern wears many hats and does many great things for students, faculty, staff and the entire community. However, I feel we have yet to capitalize on the growing trend of running in Joplin.  There have been many races/racing events and companies that have stepped up to the plate to help cultivate this new trend. There are many “staple” races in the area that runners really look forward to: The Chilly 5K Challenge; The Run with the Wind; Go Green Triathlon; Armed Forces Day 5K; The Joplin Memorial Run; and The Mother Road, just to name a few.

Missouri Southern has the ability to create a “staple” run right here on our campus with the 75th Anniversary 5K.

The first year is extremely important! We have essentially asked runners to modify their running calendars, to come experience what Missouri Southern has to offer. It is imperative that we meet, or even better, exceed their expectations!  This will set the path for the event to blossom into a bigger event with the potential to significantly change people’s lives. We are providing an opportunity to engage people, both on and off campus, in a healthier, more active lifestyle.

As the event matures, our impact will grow and we will soon be providing an immeasurable service to our community for years to come.

This event also provides the opportunity for our student groups and organization to raise funds for their causes. Recreational Services has already invited the Kinesiology Club (K-Club) to participate in a post-race fundraising activity on the Oval through selling beverages at the Southern Spree. Through their dedication to this project I perceive this group playing a huge role in the future planning of the 5K.  In addition, Kinesiology, Athletics, and Greek Life have also offered great support through volunteers and service for the race, thus creating a very positive, tight-knit community atmosphere. I feel that this has the potential to shed a very positive light on the students, faculty, and staff of Missouri Southern.

Another great aspect of the 5K is our ability to showcase the campus where the event will take place. We have many great things to be proud of; beautiful landscape, fascinating combination of new and historic buildings, great art and visual displays.  As Missouri Southern moves forward with the Master Development Plan, the landscape will change and offer new improvements for the runners to experience. This is a very exciting and unique characteristic of our event! We are beginning this race with many new things on the horizon making it different from other races in the area.  Next year the runners will see a “grand” Bronze Lion statue that is brand new to them. What a way to showcase our improvements!

Last, but certainly not least, I can see value in our students, faculty ,and staff getting involved in this unique, out-of office/classroom experience and develop new relationships with others. Many times we gather for lunches, dinners, and other events and wind up talking about what is going on back in the office. What???

I can almost guarantee that it will be the last thing on your mind while training for a 5K and certainly while running/walking the race. There is such a natural high with all the excitement and commotion of race day that I truly feel every person should experience this at least once. It is a great way to release stress, clear your mind, and put your best foot forward. I encourage everyone to participate in this event. Walkers are definitely welcome!  I hope to see you on April 27.

— Steven Benfield
Director of Campus Recreation, Beimdiek Recreation Center