Hundreds of people will trek the ninth annual Endangered Species Walk/Run Saturday on the Katy Trail starting from the Jefferson City Pavilion.
From birds to animals, fish and flowers, “the list is quite big of the species that are endangered,” said Linda Martin, administration staff assistant with the Missouri Conservation Department.
The fundraiser helps restore habitats, conduct research and support education projects. The event will highlight the bottomland hardwood forests and swamps, which harbors 10 percent of Missouri’s rare and endangered species.
“We don’t want to lose any of the species we have and if we don’t protect them, that’s what will happen,” Martin added.
Race packets will be distributed 8-9 a.m. Participants can choose from three race options: a 5K walk, a 5K run and a 10K run. Rain or shine, the walk begins at 8:45 a.m. and the runs start at 9 a.m.
For safety reasons, no headphones or pets will be allowed on the trail. Strollers and joggers are welcome, but must stay at the end of the lineup when starting.
The race route is certified by the USA Track and Field and races will be chip timed. Awards will be given to winners by age class. There also will be a raffle with the event.
Last year, the race hosted 400 walkers and runners, but so far Martin said more than 500 people have signed up to participate.
“We have walkers from all over the state,” Martin said. “Everyone has a good time with it. … I think people are very interested in helping protect our habitat and endangered species.”
Online registration costs $25. Paper registration costs $27.
Registration includes a long-sleeved T-shirt with artwork created for the occasion by Conservation Department artist Mark Raithel. Non-participants can purchase the shirt for $25.
Youth teams are encouraged to participate with a reduced registration fee. Youth age groups start at 10 and younger and go through 11-14 and 15-19. Ages for adults range by decade – 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s, 60s and a group for 70 years and older.
The Conservation Department is also holding a statewide youth postcard contest in conjunction with the walk/run. The contest deadline has expired, but postcards will be displayed in the Capitol through Oct. 15 and at the race.
“People can come by and vote on their choices and we have lots of great entries,” Martin said.
The event is co-hosted by the Missouri departments of Conservation, Natural Resources and Health and Senior Services; the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; and Jefferson City Parks, Recreation and Forestry.
Gov. Matt Blunt will proclaim the week leading up to the event, Oct. 7-13, as Missouri Endangered Species Awareness Week.
For registration and other information, visit www.mdc.mo.gov/programs/ed_walkrun or call (573) 522-4115 ext. 3150.