Archive for Thursday, June 18, 2015

Tonganoxie’s Kirby McRill Aventure Walk/Run is Saturday

June 18, 2015

A unique 5K walk that pays homage to a not-so-ordinary namesake is back for its second year Saturday and organizers are hoping several teams sign up in the coming days.

The Kirby McRill Adventure Walk and 5K run will start with registration at 7 a.m. Saturday at The Jewel on Main at Fourth and Main streets in the downtown Tonganoxie area.

Participants will cover the downtown area, Chieftain Park and VFW Park before taking the course back to The Jewel on Main for the finish line.

Challenges, like with last year’s walk, will be set up along the way. This year also will have a 5K run, though runners will not stop for the various challenges.

For the walkers, some of the challenges are balancing beam to represent the railroad tracks McRill went along during his walk to Chicago.

There’s also a bridge that can be crossed only after answering trivia questions.

In addition, one challenge involves a beanbag toss in which participants must get a beanbag through a “piehole.”

McRill was known for loving to eat blackberry pies.

He was born in 1875 and owned a farm near Tonganoxie. In 1919, he was summoned to jury duty in Leavenworth and walked 26 miles in a blizzard to appear in court. The court had been closed because of the blizzard, but McRill made it on time nonetheless. According to reports at the time, he so enjoyed the notoriety that he received that he began walking longer and longer journeys and soon became the poster child for walking and the Heart of America Club.

In May 1920, McRill walked from Topeka to Chicago in 7 1/2 days, averaging 70 miles per day. He dedicated himself to the causes of private enterprise, civic boosting and hiking. He’s also been referred to as “the genuine article in native eccentricity.”

Volunteer training for Saturday’s event will be 6 p.m. Thursday at The Jewel on Main.

Organizer Keyta Kelly encourages folks to take on the walk challenge or participate in the run.

“Whichever one floats your boat,” Kelly said. “You can run or walk.”

Entrepreneurs Achieving Success Together is organizing the even and has about five teams for the Kirby McRill Adventure Walk so far, along with some runners signed up.

Scott Webb, another McRill organizer, said the community has been generous. Businesses have donated about 50 prizes for participants.

The key now is to get more teams involved in the event.

Each team consists of four participants who are 7 or older. Parents also are welcome to push strollers in the challenge.

“It’s a good family event,” Kelly said. “Mom, dad, two kids or mom and three kids, whatever.”

A mother, father and three children?

Kelly won’t be turning them away.

“They can do it,” she said. “We’ll make it work.”

Proceeds will benefit Habitat for Humanity and its Brushes with Kindness program for painting projects in the community. Last year’s event raised about $500 and proceeds from this year will be added to those funds to go toward projects in Tonganoxie.

Each participant receives a bag with “goodies” in it.

And, festivities might go on without rain.

“Right now, the weather actually looks good,” Webb said.

Participants can join others later at The Jewel on Main for Comedy Night. Comedians Mike Smith and Laurie Fank will be performing. The show starts at 8 p.m.

For more information about the Kirby McRill Adventure Walk and 5K Run, go to


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