In the Beginning...
The first New Years Eve Run started on December 31, 1977 and finished in the early morning of 1978. Original members of this prestigious event were Rich and Marlene Ayers (Kansas City), Ron and Linda Strader (Holton), and Sam and Phyllis Cook (Duluth, MN). According to Rich's log, the first run was "10 degrees and icy with strong north winds."
December 31, 2008
Around 48 citizens took to the streets for the 32nd running of this Sabetha tradition. With the Bank Sign showing 21degF, runners and walkers took off into a brisk south wind on their way to the high school flagpole. However, this provided a welcome tailwind on the return trip to the bank, where participants fellowshipped over Linda Baumgartner's delicious cinnamon rolls and kolaches.
December 31, 2007
Predictably, as the temps dropped this year, so did attendance. Yet, more than 35 brave souls still ran, walked, slipped and slid the annual route from the Bank Sign to the High School Flagpole and back, each competing for the honor and privilege of taking part in a tradition dating back to December 31, 1977. A quick scan of participants revealed adults, kids, a dog, and more than a couple folks who had clearly had too much to drink...wait, nevermind...those folks were part of the party at Scooters (across the street). (No excuse for the guy in shorts, though.) And for these heroic efforts, the finishers received...nothing. Actually, afterwards, everyone enjoyed hot apple cider, some cookies, and Linda Baumgartner's famous cinnamon rolls and cherry kolaches. Most importantly, no one was hurt on the course and everyone made it home safely (I assume...come on, at that hour, it's not like anyone really checks...)
December 31, 2006 (30th Year)
Wow. Approximately 60 people of questionable intelligence showed up in 20-degree (F) temps and a cold wind to enjoy the 30th running. Joining the fray this year were Ron and Linda Strader and Rich and Marlene Ayers, four of the six founders of this event in 1977-78. (The other two founders, Sam and Phyllis Cook of Minnesota, could not make it...or perhaps they have simply wised up in the last 30 years.) Afterwards, everyone enjoyed chicken-noodle soup, homemade cinnamon rolls and cherry-filled kolaches (also spelled kolace, kolach, or kolacky...look it up) from Linda Baumgartner, and cookies from Marlene Ayers. And this year as a special treat, United Bank & Trust helped provide a complimentary stainless steel thermos to everyone who participated. In addition, Rich "Santa" Ayers came bearing gifts of cotton "runner's gloves" for everyone...even those who ran in shorts. All in all, another great event...no one got hurt, everyone got gifts, and some even had some fun.
December 31, 2005
Another great crowd...lots of fun, food and fellowship to bring in the new year. We ended up with 56 names on the sign-in sheet and that doesn't come close to accounting for everybody who was there in the balmy 38 degree (F) temps.
December 31, 2004
A tremendous turnout...more than 50 men, women, children and dogs showed up to run and walk on Friday night under clear skies and freezing temps. (Okay, "freezing" is a stretch, but the sign did read 32 degreesF, so technically...) After a ceremonial photograph or two, the masses made their way through the darkened streets to the High School flagpole and back to the United Bank & Trust Drive-Through facility for soup, snacks and conversation. Everyone made it back, and I think most even had a little bit of fun.
The Early Years
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