Story by Paige Effinger, Staff writer
The annual Murray Half Marathon put on by the Murray-Calloway County Hospital took place Saturday, April 22 and included new events this year.
The event is a 13.1-mile route that gives runners a tour of Murray. The runners begin at the Center for Health and Wellness on Poplar Street and end at the Murray-Calloway County Hospital.
Three courses are offered to participants: 13.1-mile race, 13.1 relay race and 5K run or walk.
All proceeds from the event benefit the Anna Mae Owen Residential Hospice House in Murray that opened last November.
Susan Davis, director of the Murray Half Marathon, said the Murray-Calloway County Hospital built the house for people who are near the end of their life to make them more comfortable.
Murray-Calloway County Hospital is a nonprofit hospital; therefore, they had to pay for the construction of the hospice. Davis said the half marathon helped offset these costs.
Davis said they have not totaled the profits from the race this year, but last year the race raised $53,000.
Katlyn Marshall, freshman from Mount Vernon, Indiana, participated in the race this year and won third place in her age division.
“Overall, the experience was awesome,” Marshall said.
Marshall said she would definitely participate in the race in the future.
Along with the actual race, the Murray Half Marathon also holds a “Butterfly Challenge” and a wing-eating contest to raise money and awareness for the event.
The Butterfly Challenge raises awareness for hospice care. Butterfly wings are sold for $10. Davis said the challenge is similar to the “Ice-Bucket Challenge” that raised awareness for ALS.
Davis said the symbol for hospice care is the butterfly. The idea of the challenge is to get runners and members of the community to wear the butterfly wings not only to raise awareness for the event, but also to raise money.
Last year, the Butterfly Challenge rose $17,000. Davis said they went to businesses to get them to participate, and then those businesses would challenge others.
Davis said this challenge also serves as a marketing tool for them because people would share their pictures and videos of them wearing the butterfly wings on social media.
“It’s an opportunity for us to show off this great community,” Davis said.
Another event in coordination with the half marathon is a wing-eating contest. This year was the first year for the contest, and they started it to make raising money for a hospice a little happier.
Businesses and organizations could register for the event as a team. Each team was responsible for raising their own money for the event. The top eight teams who raised the most money got to compete in the contest. This year, Vanderbilt Chemical raised the most money with a $1,579 donation.
The wings were made by The Keg and the event was held at the Murray Country Club on March 29. Davis said next year they are going to expand the event by allowing the top 12 teams to participate.
Davis said the wing-eating contest alone made $10,000 for hospice.
“Out of all the events that I’ve ever done, that was a lot of fun,” Davis said.