By MEGAN STROUP
The Parley P. Pratt Memorial Freedom Run commemorates Pratt’s 1839 escape from the Boone County Jail, where he was being held because of his religious affiliation. Pratt was a Mormon who escaped the jail with fellow church leaders on July 4, 1839. The annual event is organized by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.
“More than anything else, this is a celebration of freedom,” master of ceremonies Sheldon Slade said during his welcoming speech.
The crowd gathered for the Pledge of Allegiance, singing of “My Country Tis of Thee” and prayer before the race. Organizer Newell Kitchen then told the story of Pratt’s escape, and volunteers from the church sang a song penned by Pratt and sung on the night of his escape.
The song began:
Lord, cause their foolish plans to fail
And let them faint or die:
Our souls would quit this poor old jail
And fly to Illinois.
The event had two options for participants: a 1-mile run/walk or a 4-mile run along the MKT Trail. The winners were as follows:
- 6 and under: Matthew Houser and Ruth Webb
- 7 – 9 years old: James Harris and Elizabeth Cayou
- 10 – 12 years old: Stirling White and Savannah Kitchen
- 13 – 16 years old: Elias Lot and Cassidy Jacobson
- 18 and under: Bren Bremer and Emily Shaw
- 19 – 34 years old: Matt Dreier and Anne Shadle (overall women’s winner)
- 35 – 49 years old: Andy Starostka (overall winner) and Margaret Shimkus
50 and older: Phil Schaefer and Fabiola Lopez