City permits, 23 Provo police officers, 75 full-time missionaries and 10,000 people do not make an average stake activity.
The Temple to Temple Run has grown from a stake activity to Provo’s official Pioneer Day event in just three years. Organizers are hoping for as many as 15,000 participators this year. Participants will start at the Provo Temple and make their way down to the Provo City Temple.
“We tried stake activities like breakfast and dinner and wanted something different,” said Legrand A. Richards, BYU professor of Educational Leadership and Foundations and one of the original organizers. “I took a bike ride to see just how far it was and found out it was exactly a 5K to get from one temple to another.”
The first Temple to Temple Run was a multi-stake activity that had 5,000 participants. The next year, 10,000 people showed up.
“It’s just a really fun way to get together and do something on the 24th,” said Eric Speckhard, a member of Richards’ stake who pitched the idea for the 5K. Speckhard and other organizers rely solely on donations and sales from official race t-shirts to pay for the costs of organizing a 5K. The race itself is free.
So far they’ve managed to make the finances work, even if it means they don’t make much of a profit. “We’re trying just to keep it very family orientated. That’s why we’ve turned down so many sponsors so far,” Speckhard said.
Speckhard and organizers also want to use the event as a missionary tool. “We want to say to our neighbors, ‘Come on out and participate,'” Speckhard said.
Everyone who participates will receive a “Running in Memory of” race bib and can fill in the blank with the name of a special friend or family member.
Participators love the family-friendly atmosphere of the race. Benjamin Larson, president of the Provo South Stake, has participated in the 5K since its beginning. “I loved all the kids that were around us last year,” he said. “We were giving high fives to all the missionaries as we went by. It’s just a great time, and I think it will be even better this year.”
Organizers are also looking for BYU students to spread the word about the race through any and all social media channels. They hope students will be able to appreciate the event and what it has to offer. “The most important reason for BYU students to come out and participate is to think about the blessings that come from the temple and have a good time,” Speckhard said.
More information is available at http://templetotemplerun.org/.