Organizers from the Provo South Stake hosted the second annual Temple-To-Temple 5k Walk and Run on Thursday for Pioneer Day.
The run, in only its second year, drew more than 7,500 participants. The Provo South Stake High Council first organized the event last Pioneer Day.
“Every year we hosted a Pioneer Day breakfast for our stake,” said A. Legrand Richards, former stake president of the Provo South Stake, who helped organize last year’s run. “But it’s really hard to get all of our members together; we have a very large stake.”
While Richards was on his bike one morning, he decided to ride from the Provo Temple to the Provo Tabernacle, or what will soon be the new Provo City Center Temple, when he discovered the distance between the two was exactly 3.1 miles, or five kilometers.
“‘That’d be something to do,’ I thought to myself,” Richards said. “From there, we started organizing the event and inviting other stakes to participate with us.”
As stake leaders were planning the race they were told, on average, a race’s first event usually attracted somewhere close to 500 participants. To their great surprise, more than 6,000 people registered and participated in the first annual Temple-To-Temple race.
“The race is such a fun way to promote the importance of the temple in our lives and the ordinances that are done there; that’s why we came up with it,” said Eric Speckhard, a previous member of the high council in the Provo South Stake who helped organize last year’s race.
Speckhard helped again this year to plan, promote and execute the success of this year’s race.
“We want to provide families, young and old, and all college students in the surrounding area a place to celebrate Pioneer Day and start their morning off with a fun new tradition,” he said.
Event organizers encourage participants to run on behalf of one of their pioneer ancestors. During the event, runners place pictures of their ancestors on the back of their shirts to honor them and let everyone know who they are honoring.
“This year, the Provo mission president allowed 70 full-time missionaries to volunteer, bring investigators and/or participate in the race,” Speckhard said.
The race is free to all who wish to participate. All runners are given a registration tag, water and light beverages and the option to buy a Temple-To-Temple shirt and running chip to check their race times.
“We aren’t doing this to raise money,” Richards said. “The race pays for itself with the shirt and chip sales. But mainly we are just trying to provide a free event for all those who wish to participate and remember our heritage in a fun way.”