The nighttime is the right time
Ferguson Twilight Run marks ninth year of celebrating health and community with an evening jog
By Charlotte Beard
Five-time winner of Big River Running’s Best Neighborhood Support Award, The Ferguson Twilight Run, will have its ninth annual event on Saturday, May 19 starting at 4:30 p.m. Big Papa G will kick off the event with entertainment.
Ferguson’s event will start and end at Plaza at 501, an outdoor entertainment area at 501 South Florissant and Suburban Avenue.
In addition to the host of volunteers on the day of the event, the annual event is a collaboration of Dwayne James, who has been the Race Director since the beginning in 2010, and 20 other people from the St. Louis Region. They come from a background of past runners in other races, some business owners, parents, and other community members. Sponsors of this year’s event include: Christian Hospital, Negwer Materials, and Big River Running.
Registration is still open and packet pick-up will begin Wednesday, May 16. Visit www.fergtwilightrun.com/race-info/race-info for details. Participants from the St. Louis and St. Charles regions are expected to participate as well as virtual runners in California, New York and Dublin, Ireland. James shared that the virtual runners are family members and friends of participants.
“We send them their race shirt prior to the race [day]. We ask them to do the one-mile, the 5K, or the 10K and then post themselves in their shirt with their virtual runner bib and state they’re happy to run with Ferguson. That’s really it. We did this last year; we kept hearing people say they wanted to participate. They participated in the past, but they moved away, they [couldn’t] do it that day because of a graduation, or other family events. What we wanted to do is have people still be able to participate. We had good participation last year we just hope to expand it.”
Money from registration participants support major causes. Since 2010, the Ferguson Twilight Run has raised and donated $74,000 to local organizations that provide and promote health and fitness programs in North County. This year’s benefactors will be the Emerson Family YMCA summer camp program, the Ferguson Youth Initiative earn-a-bike program, the Ferguson Swim Team, the Marygrove Recreation Therapy program, and the Empower North County Soccer Academy.
Mark Pacatte, Director of Child Care for Emerson Family YMCA shared that thanks to this race, last year they were able to sponsor 15 children for their summer camp program.
In 2017 more than 1,600 people participated, representing more than 100 zip codes. This was representative of 79 percent participation outside the Ferguson area. Since 2010, more than 12,600 participants have walked, jogged and raced through the historic neighborhoods of Ferguson.
One citizen who hosted a party during the race one year decided to get more involved the following year by managing one of the water stations. Another Ferguson participant, Evergrace Davis, has participated as a runner every year since 2011 when her aerobics instructor invited her class to participate as a team.
“I like when all of the Ferguson community comes together for one general purpose,” Davis said.
Davis, who expressed that she is passionate about fitness, went on to share that she likes that the community comes together for physical activity because it contributes to becoming healthier and building community spirit.
James states, “We tell our volunteers to clap for the fastest person but also clap for that last person that is either walking that one-mile or walking that 5K. We had a person that was walking the 10K with a cane. That’s an accomplishment so we’re going to make sure that we’re keeping everything safe for that person. We applaud you for doing our race.”
Those who choose to walk are strongly encouraged to participate; you do not have to be a runner. Everyone that crosses the finish line gets a medal. YMCA’s Pacatte shared that their teen group volunteers annually to stand at that line and hand out medals.
Regarding how Ferguson started its race in 2010, James shared, “There were community members doing different aspects of community development. So, we were looking into ways of doing that type of work as a city.”
James also shared that the race is an opportunity to cross various boundaries as it relates to physical fitness, individual health, ethnicities, gender, and generational age differences.
The event is packed with amenities. Parking and shuttle service for participants will be provided at two locations: 1) First Baptist Church, 333 N. Florissant Rd, and 2) McCluer South-Berkeley High School, 201 Brotherton Ln. Ferguson Brewing Company will donate free beer and root beer samples. In addition, water stations will be managed by various organizations and volunteers. Om Turtle Yoga will be present to provide stretching routines for participants and BKM Fitness Boot Camp will provide pre-race aerobics. After the race, Yoga Buzz will help participants get their post-race stretching. Emerson Family YMCA, who has supported the event since 2010, will provide nutritious snacks after the race. ‘Cheer stations’ along the route will be accommodated by the Jennings High School Band, Jeske Park Band, and others. Finally, attendees will get the opportunity to enjoy Griffin and the Gargoyles in concert at the finish line.
James stresses, “Even if you don’t want to run, walk, or volunteer—come out for the concert. It’s a free concert. Just come out and enjoy the community.”
Some plans for 2019 have already begun due to it being the tenth anniversary of the event but the primary planning will begin in October. Registration will open immediately following Saturday’s race. For other details not limited to how to register for this Saturday, where to pick up a packet, and specific start times for events on the program visit: www.fergtwilightrun.com/race-info/race-info.
CUTLINE: Submitted photos Participants run and walk in a previous Ferguson Twilight Run.