Shag the Drag returns to create memories

Event benefits Meals on Wheels

-Messenger file photo by Hans Madsen
Runners participating in the Shag the Drag run-walk make their way east along Second Avenue South as they set out on the three-mile course in a previous Shag the Drag.

For just $5, Shag the Drag run/walk offers Fort Dodge participants two things: a reminder to support local charity and a reminder to make memories in the place you live.

The re-established tradition, to be held Saturday, is a more active spin on the car tradition founder Jenn Becker’s parents and grandparents remembered that aims to create the lasting memories that give a hometown meaning.

This year’s event, the third annual 5k since it was revived by Jenn Becker and her husband, Luke, will take runners on a route that showcases the historical district by way of the former Sunkissed Meadows Golf Course and the picturesque trail meandering along the river.

She says the huge showing of community support for the tradition is a testament to the spirit still alive in Fort Dodge.

“That’s one thing other communities don’t have,” said Becker. “That’s huge. That’s what draws people here–that support.”

-Messenger file photo by Hans Madsen
Alexandra Leiting, 9, of Fort Dodge, holds a sign offering encouragement to the runners in the Shag the Drag run in a previous Shag the Drag. Leiting helped direct runners along the course.

The event coincides with Market on Central, a promising treat for runners after they reach the finish line featuring a variety of art, music, food and other vendor products.

“We live in the historical district, love the up-and-comingness of downtown, and want to give people another reason to get there,” she said.

This year, Becker would like to up attendance for the event for the benefit of their charity. Last year’s event was able to donate about $600, a little less than the first year’s $1,000.

Proceeds will once again benefit Meals on Wheels. Becker said the charity 5k continues to benefit that organization in hopes it will serve as an annual reminder for support.

“To have something that we’re able to support, the same cause every year, gives people predictability to support throughout the year,” Becker said, explaining the passion that people have for the organization that touches many lives in unspoken ways.

-Messenger file photo by Hans Madsen
Reed Russell, of Fort Dodge, stretches on the sidewalk at the Smeltzer-Ringling House before the start of a previous Shag the Drag Race. Russell was having a friendly race rivalry with his dad Mike Russell, who also ran in the fundraiser.

“It reaches more people than you realize,” she said.

They chose the organization at first to help bolster it as it re-established itself in the Fort Dodge community. Now, they choose the organization to ensure steady support as financial needs for the non-profit remain constant.

Participants will start at the Ringland-Smeltzer House, 1019 Second Ave. S., at 9 a.m. Another one-mile walk will start at 9:05 a.m. Those wishing to walk or run are encouraged to register ahead online at sites.google.com/view/ shaggingthedrag2019. Bring cash for your donation to the event.

Those who aren’t interested in a run, but want to take the opportunity to donate, are encouraged to do the one-mile walk or simply give a free will donation.

The route this year will follow last year’s route, starting northbound on 12th street toward Daniel Pharmacy, leading for two blocks down Central Avenue, followed by a jog over to First Avenue South before cutting back to Central Avenue by the First Avenue South roundabout.

The route will then zigzag south to the former Sunkissed Meadows Golf Course for scenic river views. The last stretch of the run will head north on Seventh Street.

Prizes for the top runners and giveaway raffles similar to last year will come from local businesses. Last year’s prizes came from businesses like Olde Boston’s Restaurant & Pub, Shiny Top Brewing, Rush Hour Clothing and Panchero’s.


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