Run for the melons hits streets of Muscatine

The Watermelon Stampede started in 1978 in downtown Muscatine. This year, more than 350 runners are expected. Submitted photo

Runners of all ages will thunder through the streets of Muscatine during the 42nd annual Watermelon Stampede Aug. 16-17. The event includes a 5K race/walk and 10K race through the streets of Muscatine and the Kids Watermelon Stampede at the Muscatine High School Track.

The Kids Watermelon Stampede begins at 6 p.m. Friday, Aug. 16 at the Muscatine High School Track. The Watermelon Stampede starts and ends at 4th Street & Iowa Avenue in downtown Muscatine ang begins at 8 a.m. on Saturday, Aug. 17.

According to race director Dell Wager, the stampede has the largest local participation of any athletic event held in Muscatine each year. He expects between 350 and 400 runners on Saturday morning and 75 to 100 children for the Friday night kids run.

The Watermelon Stampede began in 1978 when it was all the rage for small towns to organize a “run.” With the continued enthusiasm and dedicated support of the Mucatine Running Club and volunteers, the stampede has survived when other community runs stopped due to waning interest.

Besides the usual random giveaway of 50 watermelons on Saturday, this year for the first time, all 52 age group winners will receive a watermelon as their first-place prize. Even first-place male and female winners in the 2, 3, and 4 Lap Distances of the Kids Races win watermelons as their prize.

Wagner also says there is a half-price entry fee for all high school cross country runners and coaches no matter which school they attend. He says this is a great opportunity for area cross country runners to get a leg up on their fall season.

More information and online registration links can be found at: http://www.machlink.com/~muscatinerunningclub/