Heroes Marathon

A Dent County tourism tax goes a long way in helping make events such as the Honoring Our Heroes Marathon a success. Getting of to a quick start at the recent event are, from left, Brenda Bramel from Ft. Leonard Wood, Casey Gary from St. Robert and Andrew Friesen of Waynesville

Hundreds of people will gather for the annual Honoring Our Heroes Marathon, as runners honor veterans and active military this Saturday. The marathon will begin at Dent County Commons in Salem and end at Lions Club Park in Rolla.

Most of the course will be along Hwy. 72. According to volunteer director Shawn Bolerjack, registration numbers are already higher than last year with nearly 500 registrants. The HEROES Marathon also offers a 5K, 10K, Relay and Half Marathons and all proceeds from the event are donated to local veteran's causes.

Ninety-six-year-old WWII Veteran Ernie Andrus was going to attend the event and speak Friday night at the Honoring Our Heroes Pasta Party. Unfortunately, amid COVID-19 concerns, Andrus will not be attending in person, but will instead speak via pre-recorded video. Andrus will speak about his time in the service and his experience as cross-country runner since a 2013 coast-to-coast run.

Other keynote speakers include:

• Retired Marine and Medal of Honor Recipient, Hershel “Woody” Williams, who among other accomplishments served during the Battle of Iwo Jima.

• Captain Jay Tiegs who currently serves at Fort Leonard Wood. Tiegs is a motivational speaker who lives by the mantra “Do hard things.”.

• Dr. Dennis Atkins who is the CEO and Executive Director of Disabled Citizens Alliance for Independence in Viburnum.

Early packet pickup for participants will be Friday from 4:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the Salem Community Center @ The Armory, where the Pasta Party will be 5 p.m.-7 p.m. For those participating in the full marathon, buses will leave from Rolla Lions Club at 6 a.m. and head to the start at the Commons. Buses for the half marathon will leave at 7:15 a.m. and head to Lake Spring for an 8 a.m. start.

For information or to register, visit www.heroesmarathon.com.