DECATUR — The day began Saturday with a beautiful sunrise that hosted one of the highest turnouts for a single event except for concerts in barbecue history. The 68th Decatur BBQ kicked off with the 5K/Fun Run which began in the Edmiston Ball Park concession stand parking lot in Decatur.

This year’s event was organized and sponsored by Thrive Athletics of Bentonville.

The line up for the Fun Run began at the Frisbee Golf Course parking lot at 7:30 a.m. About 20 youth and adults gathered at the start line for the one-mile course around the park’s walking path. Veterans.

“Runners, get your bearings,” said event coordinator Ladale Clayton. “GO!”

Most of the runners have moved away from the starting line. But a few were there to enjoy a relaxed ride around the nearly one-mile course.

Ten minutes later, the first two kids crossed the finish line for first and second place. In ten minutes, the Fun Run 2022 was over. Now was the time to start the big race.

This 5K was just a little different this year. The race was born in the same location that has served as the starting line for this event for the past few years. At least 30 runners from Arkansas, eastern Oklahoma, Kansas and Missouri made their mark. By far the largest contingent of runners came from the Gravette Cross Country team and coach Jana Hardgrave who helped Clayton with this event.

The course was a little tricky, so Clayton was in a four-wheeler to lead the riders around the course.

Once the race started, the riders turned left onto Austin Street, then right onto Arkansas Highway 102. The group maneuvered around the old Simmons processing plant, eventually bypassing Old City Park (the location of origin of the barbecue). From there, the runners reversed part of the same course and re-entered Veterans Park where they completed a full circuit of the footpath and crossed the finish line near hole number two on the course. Frisbee golf.

Thirty minutes later, the largest turnout in 5K/Fun Run history concluded with an awards ceremony at the concession stand in Edmiston Park. The 68th Decatur BBQ was launched.

5K and Fun Run winners included:

Overall — 1 Mikey, 2 Gretchen, 3 Breightyn.

Men’s Division – 1 Will Pittman, 2 Even Owens, 3 Ted Kedrowski.

High school girls — 1 Julia, 2 Anna, 3 Litzy.

High school students — 1 Nick, 2 Gabe, 3 Isaac.

Westside Eagle Observer/MIKE ECKELS Runners take off from the concession stand parking lot at Edmiston Park Ball Park for the start of the 68th Decatur Barbecue 5K race August 6 in Decatur.


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