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Rural King Associates Come Together for 5K

May 7, 2018 9:54 a.m.

  • Kasey Wickiser (left) and Emma Buford

Nearly 40 Rural King Associates are gearing up to walk or run the 5K at Sarah Bush Lincoln’s Races for All Paces on Saturday, May 12, at Eastern Illinois University’s O’Brien stadium.

Replenishment Specialist Emma Buford was excited when she learned Rural King was partnering with Sarah Bush Lincoln for the 5K at Races for All Paces. “I ran my very first 5K at Races for All Paces last year and I was one of the first to sign up to run this year,” she said.

Buford was inspired to run by her best friend, Hannah Mathis, who has lost more than 60 pounds in the past year. “Hannah has been on a weight-loss journey and I chose to run with her to support her on her journey,” Buford said. “We plan to make it an annual tradition.”

Last year’s event inspired the duo to run multiple 5Ks throughout the year and they plan to keep running after Races for All Paces this year. The friends also work out together at least three times a week at Planet Fitness. “We keep each other motivated to stay healthy and active and we want to be good role models for younger girls,” she said.

Category Manager Kasey Wickiser is excited to participate in her very first 5K. “Community involvement is important and it’s exciting to see so many coworkers signing up. I think we’re going to have a big group,” she said.

Since first responders are being honored on race day this year, Wickiser is walking in honor of her father and brother-in-law, who both serve as volunteer firefighters. She plans to walk with her mother, Shelia Figgins, while pushing her two-year-old daugher, Kenzlee, in a stroller. “I think it will be fun and I’m looking forward to it,” she said.

Corporate Recruiter Barb Nuxoll has been activitely encouraging more Rural King associates to participate as well. “We hope to get more employees registered, but many of our associates are bringing friends and family members so we’re going to have a big crowd,” she said. “Our CEO Alex Melvin is even registered to run.”

The company was inspired to partner with Sarah Bush Lincoln for the 5K for the first time in support of Regional Manager David Porter, who has lost more than 200 pounds and kept it off for five years. In addition, Rural King is donating water for all race participants, including the half marathon, individual 10K, 5K Run/Walk, 1-Mile Run/Walk, Toddler Trot and Diaper Dash.

The family-friendly event also includes fun activities for people of all ages. Race participants are encouraged to bring the entire family and ‘touch-a-truck’ to learn more about how our first responders help the community. There will be a smoke house, fire trucks, police cars, K9 demonstrations, and a medical helicopter. Rural King will provide two red tractors and Sarah Bush Lincoln’s Healthy Kids KickStart car and Body Electric van will be there as well. Other activities include inflatable bounce houses for the kids, face painting, a photo booth and music for everyone’s enjoyment.

To register for Races for All Paces, go to T-shirts and medals are guaranteed for all runners registered (excluding Toddler Trot and Diaper Dash). Please note, registration fees are non-refundable and are used to support Healthy Communities programs. Parking is available in the O’Brien Stadium parking lot.

For more information, contact SBL Healthy Communities Director Laura Bollan at 217 345-6828. Race course maps are available at

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