When runners take off at the start of this year’s Fair Run Aug. 18, it will mark the 40th year for such a start. While the distances and routes have changed over four decades, the event’s resilience and popularity have not. (Johnson Publications file photo)

County Fair Run celebrating 40 years

    In 1979, as local competitive races were growing in popularity, the Chase County Fair Run was born.
    At the inaugural event just nine runners took part on a six-mile dirt road course. Since then, the event has grown to include a 5K, 10K, mile run and kids’ half-mile race.
    In a little over two weeks, the fair run will mark its 40th year when runners and walkers gather at Chase County Schools Saturday, Aug. 18.        Race Co-Director Jonathan Beverly of Imperial said it was in the mid to late 1970s the race movement started sweeping the country.
    Much of the popularity rose from U.S. Olympian Frank Shorter’s gold medal performance in the marathon at the 1972 Munich Games, Beverly believes.
    That was also supported by magazine articles at the time that noted running and jogging weren’t bad for your health, he said.
    The fact the Chase County Fair Run has continued for 40 years is a testament to the fair’s popularity and to a lot of good volunteers, including its many directors, Beverly said.
    “It’s big that it’s tied to the fair, that’s key,” he said.
    “It’s a tradition of the fair and an event now that people expect.”
    He also credits Pat McNair for getting it started, and who kept it going a lot of the early years. Different people have taken over the reins as coordinators since then, including Beverly and his wife Tracy along with Brad and Jill Moline, who’ve been coordinators since the run celebrated its 25th year in 2003.


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