New Years Eve Midnight Run celebrates 45 years

This group of 15 runners submitted to the harsh winter wind and persevered to the end during the traditional New Year’s Eve Midnight Run on Saturday, January 1, 2022.

Submitted by Rick Smith

What started out as an arguably questionable idea on Dec. 31, 1977, at very least solidified its reputation as an unusual endeavor 45 years later as the calendar flipped from 2021 to 2022, when 15 humans (and one dog who is convinced he is one) met shortly before midnight at the United Bank Sign for a group picture, then took off for a leisurely run or walk to the High School flagpole.

Buoyed by a stiff north wind, the 21-degree temperatures seemed considerably warmer than the reported wind chill, spirits were high, and it was obvious to everyone why such an enjoyable event has become such a beloved tradition… and then they reached the flagpole.

A reversal of direction, and a reversal of fortune. Suffice it to say, the same strong, north wind that had pushed everyone along on the first half, became the cold, stiff headwind that pushed the patience and fortitude of those same runners and walkers on the way back.

Thankfully, the legendary tradition of the event and the inspirational stories of heroes past provided the motivation necessary to push through the adversity and continue onward. (Or maybe it was just the snacks and warmth of the United Bank Drive-Thru building, hard to say.)

Eventually, the United Bank Drive-Thru building came into view, and all participants were welcomed back with modest refreshment and some brief fellowship, before everyone headed home with the knowledge that they were off to a good (if a little crazy) start for 2022.

Those who joined in the run include Grant Stapleton, Shannon Stapleton, Robin Stapleton, Isabelle Walker, Brandon Walker, John Aberle, Jeanne Edelman, Loren Edelman, Kurt Mueller, Tommy Thompson, Alex Lara Thompson, Martha Montgomery, Sue Plattner, James Johnson and Simba “Cop Dog.”

And special thanks to the Sabetha Chamber of Commerce for awarding Chamber Gift Certificates to the Youngest (Grant Stapleton) and Oldest (John Aberle) participants. So, who are the crazy ones now, huh?

See you next year — same time, same place.



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