Melvin Run disbands

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March 31, 2017 - 12:00 AM

The Charley Melvin Mad Bomber Run For Your Life, a staple of Iola’s summers since 2009, is no more.
Nobody stepped forward to take over the annual fun run and related activities after Thrive Allen County and Allen County Crime Stoppers announced earlier this year they were moving on to other projects.
“If you haven’t heard, the Melvin Run is done, and it’s not coming back,” Mike Ford announced at a meeting Tuesday involving Crime Stoppers and a dozen other area organizations.
The Melvin Run’s genesis traces back to 2009, when it was part of Iola’s sesquicentennial celebration.
Over the next few years, attendance grew steadily to the point that 1,000 runners and walkers participated in the annual event.
The fun run’s unusual starting time — 12:26 a.m. — marked the exact time Melvin lit several sticks of dynamite and destroyed three local saloons in the process in July 1907.
Inflatable attractions, outdoor movies and music concerts also were a part of the annual festivities.
Attendance lagged a bit in recent years, however, and the arduous planning required to run the event convinced organizers to pursue other fundraisers.
Damaris Kunkler, program director at Thrive, said one local group discussed briefly assuming responsibility before deciding against it.

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