By Jayne Sikyta





Downtown Lee’s Summit came alive at 7:30 am on Saturday, September 10, when runners and walkers of all ages set off in the Heart of the Summit 5k/10k walk/run.  The event was planned by the Rotary Club of Lee’s Summit as a fund raiser for six local non-profit organizations: Hope House, Lee’s Summit Social Services, Hillcrest Transitional Housing, Coldwater, Lee’s Summit CARES for the DARE program, and Lee’s Summit Underwater Rescue and Recovery.


In the wee hours of the morning, over 140 volunteers from 80 non-profit organizations arrived to prepare for the race.  These volunteers offered water and directed the runners along the course, and cheered the participants on throughout the race.  They were easily identified by the bright yellow T-shirts and the enthusiastic support. 


ImageMany of the participating organizations made the event fun by challenging others.  Workplace groups were represented by a large number of participants dressed in their signature T-shirts.  These included banks, hospital, financial institutions, philanthropic groups, and more.  Terry Trafton led a group of sixteen co-workers from TMC/Lakewood Counseling Group, by both organizing and running in the race.  Robi Brown encouraged her co-workers to enter the race as a team from Stewart Title. “This is the second year we have done this and we look forward to continuing the tradition,” Brown said.  Perhaps the most popular group was from the Lee’s Summit Police Department, lead by police chief, Joe Piccinini.  They celebrated having the men’s winner of the 5K, DARE Officer, Chris Colon, with a time of 18:53.6 minutes. 

ImageOthers participating in the race included family members.  Julie Doane, her daughter, Abby, and sister, Beverly Shuck, enjoyed strolling the downtown Lee’s Summit streets.  Karen Arnold and her daughter, Lisa, took part in the 5K, with this being Karen’s first race.  Karen was pleased to finish in just a little over 38 minutes.   Kelvin Hayes ended his 1-mile run in 9:22 and verbalized what most participants were feeling, “The charities are the real reason for doing this.” 


ImageThe winner of the 10K for men was Grant Holmes, a KU student and self-proclaimed running addict.  He saw the event on the internet and decided to register.  When asked about his running experience he said, “I had hoped to be a walk-on for the KU team, but I am going for a finance degree and was accepted to the Pharmacy school, so there is just no time.”  His time to finish the race was an impressive 35:26.8, almost 3 minutes ahead of the second place male finisher. 


ImageIt wasn’t just a day for the people who were walking or running.  There were some dogs participating as well.  Bella, a beautiful Shiba Inu, was the first dog to cross the finish line with her owner, Dana Simon, of Independence.  Dana placed 13th in her age group, but Bella was the #1 dog of the day!  Spike, an English Bulldog, finished the race with his owner, Greg Hul.  Greg admits that Spike had to take a break to refresh and rehydrate while Greg ran to the turn-around point.  Two beautiful Golden Retrievers finished second after Spike’s disqualification for sitting out some of the course.



ImageFollowing the race the fun continued with the Mayor’s Challenge Competition.  This event included David Bower of Raytown, Carson Ross of Blue Springs, Don Reimel of Independence, Steve Dennis of Grandview, and Randy Rhoads of Lee’s Summit.  It was close until the start.  Steve Dennis quickly donned the firefighter’s gear and raced up the ladder to “save the baby” while the rest of the contestants were still fighting with the attire.  Next came the bullet-proof vests and target practice with guns shooting foam “bullets.”  All contestants finished to a round of applause, accompanied by laughter, from the crowd.


Diane Seif, President of the Rotary Club of Lee’s Summit, said of the event, “Last weekend’s event brought together a diverse group of people for a great cause.  We wanted to do something really special to commemorate the 50th anniversary for our club, and that was accomplished.”  The Rotary’s motto is “Service above self” and that really was evidenced with the Heart of the Summit event, benefitting six local charities.  The race, combined with the Chili Fest, planned by the Lee’s Summit Sunrise Rotary, made Downtown Lee’s Summit the place to be last weekend.