Monday, April 15, 2013

Pony Express Fun Run at Camp Floyd


2013-04-13 10.10.23Over the weekend we participated in our first 5K Fun Run, and we all survived! My kids are seven and nine years old, and did fabulous! My nine year old ran almost the entire way with my husband, and my seven year old ran part, and walked part with me.

Last Saturday, April 13, 2013, Camp Floyd Stagecoach Inn State Park and Museum hosted the Pony Express Fun Run. This was their first year hosting this event.

Participants received a t-shirt, mail bag, letter to deliver, and horse. Fireworks began the run, and runners/walkers from all different age groups participated. Ages ranged from under one year old (in a stroller pushed by their parent), up to some runners in their 70s.

Camp Floyd was an original station and stop on the Pony Express route from April 3, 1860 to November 20, 1861. It provided troops to protect against Indian attacks and kept the trail open for the Pony Express and Stage Line.

2013-04-13 10.34.31The Fun Run route went from Camp Floyd to “St. Joseph, Missouri”. Along the trail were markers telling you “where you were at" on the route, and the distance you had left to go. One specific marker was “Devil’s Gate”. It explained how narrow Devil’s Gate was, and on the road there were chalk marks representing the passageway. Runners were told to “squeeze through” Devil’s Gate to get through and continue on their run.

Another marker talked about a river they Pony Express riders had to cross on their route to St. Joseph Missouri. Lines were drawn with blue chalk to represent the water, and rocks were drawn with red chalk on top of the “water”. Runners had to jump on the rocks to cross the river “without getting wet”.

About halfway to your destination, a snack and refueling station was set up. Water, beef jerky and crackers were available for a quick snack before continuing on your run.

2013-04-13 10.39.46Because Pony Express riders’ horses would get tired, they exchanged them when needed. One stop on the Fun Run was a “Trade Your Horse” stop. This is where you would trade the horse you were given at the beginning of the race for one that was “well-rested”. You could trade again on the way back if needed.

Once you reached “St. Joseph, Missouri”, you were asked to deliver the letter from Camp Floyd. You were then paid for your work, and given another letter to take back to Camp Floyd. The letters handed out on the Fun Run told about actual soldiers that were stationed there, and letters they received from their loved ones. The letter I received was a letter written to a soldier from his wife, and talked about their children at home.

2013-04-13 10.50.58After the run was over, apples and oranges awaited you at the Camp Floyd pavilion. A raffle was done for prizes, and a lunch of hot dogs, hamburgers, chips and drinks were available for purchase.

With this being our first Fun Run, we weren’t sure what to expect. My kids were worried that they wouldn’t be able to do it, so it was a great learning opportunity of how doing things that you think are hard ends up being really rewarding in the end, and something to look back at and be proud of. I made the agreement with them that if they were having a hard time, I would walk the entire Fun Run with them. My daughter ran almost the entire way with my husband, and my son ran a little, and walked a little. They talked the entire weekend of how excited they were that they did it, and how they couldn’t wait to do another one!

It is also a great Fun Run for kids because it teaches them a lot about the history of the Pony Express and Camp Floyd. Camp Floyd does a lot of history camps for kids, and other various activities that are very family-friendly. We always enjoy attending the Geocache Treasure Hunt there every Spring.

We can’t wait to participate in the Pony Express Fun Run again next year, and bring more people with us!

2013-04-15 11.49.10To learn more about Camp Floyd and other upcoming events:




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