Run for the Roses reaches 35th year of excellence


Participants have the option to complete either the 5k or 10k portions of the race at Alpha Omicron Pi’s Run for the Roses philanthropy event. 

Maris Cameron

The race was on Sunday morning for the Ames Area Running Club (AARC) and Iowa State’s Alpha Omicron Pi sorority.

With the day’s events starting at ISU’s Hansen Agriculture Learning Center on Mortensen Road, hundreds of participants of various ages gathered to compete.

In 1987, AARC’s co-director Don Muff and AOPI’s chapter/philanthropy adviser Eileen Muff created an organization that would inspire the community of Ames. In college, Don Muff had a college racing club with nearly 50 participants, and Eileen needed a philanthropist sponsor.

The two joined forces and the Run for Roses Health Race commenced. The group gets its name from the beautiful red roses that are given to all registered racers.

The main goal for the fall event is to raise money for The National Arthritis Foundation. Since 1987 they have raised over $334,000 for research efforts.

“We were proud of today’s turnout,” Eileen said. “People come back every year and it is heartwarming to see the community spirit of Ames.”

Starting at 7:30 a.m., participants registered at the Hansen Center. Upon paying a racing fee, kids, adults, ISU students and ROTC members ran various 5K and 10K runs. Medals were given at the end of the races.

One couple racing together that won both their age categories were Joel Beane and Rita Frederick.

“We’re from Marshalltown, but we’ve been coming back to race for over 12 years with our family,” Beane said.

The Run for Roses event provided all racers with a long-sleeve shirt, Spikeball and Cornhole games, Raffle and Silent Auction prizes, and a delicious omelet breakfast served by AOPI volunteers.

“The food was my favorite part,” Acer Kleckner said. Kleckner was a medal winner for her age category race.

The Run for Roses was also proud to be back after having a virtual event in 2020.

“ISU let us have our event at the Hansen Center though it used to be at Ames Middle School,” said junior sorority leader Shay Sargent. “We also made a new route for the racers, and it’s so nice to be back.”

Another junior sorority leader of AOPI, Zayna Bardawil, commented on her future hopes for Run for Roses.

“It is a great experience for Ames residents and AOPI volunteers. The event has gone on for many years and we hope it will continue,” Bardawil said.

The AARC and AOPI groups continue to support the fight against arthritis. The efforts they put into their Run for Roses event contributes to the overall success of that goal.

People wanting to get involved or donate can contact their team for more information.