Archive for Monday, June 9, 2014

Tonganoxie organizers seek more participants for Kirby McRill 5K Walk

June 9, 2014

The Kirby McRill 5K Walk has plenty of volunteers, prizes and sponsors for the June 21 event.

Now the event just needs more participants.

“The only thing we are missing are participants,” said organizer Keyta Kelly.

As of Monday, the event had six teams, which equates to 24 total participants.

“So, we really need some teams to get registered,” Kelly said.

Kelly said there are two entries that have been paid for anyone who wants to participate but can’t afford the $25 registration fee.

Entrapreneuers Achieving Success Together is teaming up with Heartland Habitat for Humanity for the event, with proceeds going to the local Habitat for Humanity group.

The inaugural walk is named after a Tonganoxie area resident who was quite the character in his time.

Kirby McRill walked in a blizzard in 1919 from Tonganoxie to Leavenworth for jury duty. His venture helped him gain fame as an avid walker.

Court proceedings were canceled due to the weather, but McRill’s walk made him famous in the area. The next year, he walked from Topeka to Chicago in seven-and-a-half days.

In 1922 some civic boosters entered McRill in a walking race against George M. Brown, the World Walk King. The race took place over a 3-mile course through the downtown streets of Kansas City, Mo. Public officials lined up at the starting line. Crowds of onlookers gathered at the finish line. The masses cheered McRill as he crossed the finish line first. But, then, much to the crowd's dismay, McRill was disqualified on a technicality — McRill had trotted while his opponent walked.

The same rules will apply for this month’s 5K walk, which will start with registration at 7 a.m. at Chieftain Park. The walk will begin at 8 a.m. and cover much of the newly constructed Chieftain Trail Phase II. It will make its way downtown and eventually finish at Flashbacks, 630 E. Fourth St.

The walk also will have five challenges along the way, including a pin-the-kiss-on-Kirby station, a shoe matching challenge and a hop scotch challenge.

Prizes will be awarded for a Kirby look-a-like, funkiest shoes, slowest time, fastest time, oldest contestant and more. Anyone 7 or older can compete in the event.

Dexter the T-Rex, mascot at T Rex Café, will be at the race from 7 to 9 a.m. Stranger Creek Band will perform at Flashbacks after the race.

Kelly said the walk has four purposes: Support Heartland Habitat for Humanity’s Brush with Kindness Program in the Tonganoxie area; commemorate and celebrate the new walking trail expansion; pay homage to a local legend in McRill; and get people from outside the area into Tonganoxie to see and appreciate the town and its merchants.

To sign up and for more information, go to

Proceeds from the event will benefit Heartland Habitat for Humanity.

Volunteers also are needed for the event. For more information about volunteering or the race itself, contact Keyta Kelly at 913-845-8780.


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