Runners from as far away as Utah and Idaho joined Columbia residents Wednesday for the annual Parley Pratt Memorial 4-Mile run.
The event started with a flag ceremony performed by the 175th Military Police Battalion of Columbia, followed by the pledge of allegiance and the singing of God Bless America. Participants chose between a 1-mile run or a 4-mile run/walk, and all ages were encouraged to take part. The course started at the Twin Lakes Pavilion and continued onto the MKT trail before looping back to the finish at the pavilion. Besides personal accomplishment, warm pancakes and the prospect of winning a hand painted watermelon also motivated runners.
Columbia’s Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints organized the race to highlight the story of Parley Pratt, an early Mormon leader who was imprisoned in Missouri and escaped on July 4. Race organizer Newell Kitchen said “the story is a fun way to honor freedom of religion ... and a great way to start the day.”