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So he devised a format that will make it more challenging and certainly more entertaining.
Runners in the 5K will be equipped with cash bags hanging from make-believe money belts that a group of “marshals” will attempt to snatch away during the run. It’s like flag football, but with a Jesse James/bank robbery theme.
“They’re going to try to get the money bags off of them,” said Harmon, co-owner of Anytime Fitness, which is sponsoring the run. “If they make it back with their money, then they get some prizes.”
There will even be spots along the course where the runners can “get out of jail for free” and replenish cash the marshals have taken.
“The runners are going to be like outlaws, members of the James Gang,” said Harmon.
And, of course, the marshals will be dressed in Western garb.
The idea, of course, is to tie into the festival theme, which was created around the 1867 Richmond bank robbery that left three people dead.
The 5K course starts and ends at the intersection of Shaw and West Main streets and winds its way through neighborhoods and the city hall parking lot before turning west to the Ray County fairgrounds.
In addition to the grab-the-money-bag angle, Harmon said the course would be littered with obstacles – things like tractor tires and other big impediments – that the runners will have to go over or around.
Fatigue and perspiration aren’t all the runners will have to deal with, either.
“We’re going to run through a mud pit,” said Harmon.
The runners will make way their through the dirt area that ordinarily serves as the demolition derby arena at the county fair.
“It’s going to be different. It’s going to be cool,” said Harmon, whose enthusiasm for not doing the same-old 5K is contagious. “It’s going to be a lot of fun. I didn’t want to do another 5K because it’s already been done.”
Registration for the 5K costs $10. A more traditional 10K for the more serious runner costs $25. There’s also a two-mile walk. All three event registrations include an Outlaw Days T-shirt, Harmon said.
Registration is available in advance at Anytime Fitness in Richmond or at the chamber office. Entrants can also register at the start/finish line at Shaw and West Main streets the day of the race. Harmon said he’s pleased to be part of a festival that has a central goal of bringing people to the square and providing entertainment.
“My biggest thing is getting more people down there,” he said.