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Thursday
December 05th, 2019

funrun tight groupLocal athletes head down Eighth Street Thursday on the first Fun Run of 2019. The runs bring to a close the summer workout programs in preparation for the upcoming school sports seasons. L&T photo/Earl WattBy EARL WATT

Leader & Times

It’s a summer tradition that dates back to Coach Gary Cornelsen in 1991.

After a summer of weight lifting and workouts, all athletes from all sports come together to jog through the streets of Liberal in a series of Fun Runs.

Behind the athletes is a caravan of fans following on bikes and in vehicles, and residents came to their front yards to watch.

The numbers were relatively strong on the first night with more than 100 athletes participating.

Jason Dunlap, Liberal High School’s head football coach and summer workout coordinator in the weight room has seen some positives this summer.

“I’ve seen great leadership from senior boys and girls in all the sports,” he said. “There’s a lot of buy-in from them. They know its their last go-around, and they are prepared to battle for it.”

Like any coach, Dunlap would have liked more participation, but he wasn’t disappointed with what he saw this summer.

“You always want more, but I am pleased,” he said. “The kids showed up and worked hard every day. I am very happy with how it turned out.”

Now the summer season ends with three fun runs, and with the first one complete, Dunlap said it was accomplished what it was intended to do.

“You want to get a community feel,” he said, adding with a grin, “and some extra conditioning.”

With the numbers topping 100, Dunlap thought the first fun run was a solid start.

“It was very good,” he said. “I am happy with that. Liberal showed a lot of pride tonight.”

funrunsprintAfter running close together for most of Thursday’s Fun Run, the group started to separate in the final stretch back to Liberal High School as participants sprinted to the end. The annual Fun Run is open to all athletes and brings an end to summer workouts in preparation fro the upcoming school sports season. More than 100 athletes participated in the first Fun Run. L&T photo/Earl WattThere are two more runs to come, one on Monday and the summer finale next Friday. And the transition runs end the summer and begin the fall.

“We have pad checkouts, physicals need to be turned in, but when you have the first fun run, you can’t only feel football is coming, you start to smell it,” he said.

And this year, the Kansas High School Activities Association has added a scrimmage to the schedule, allowing high school football athletes to do what virtually every other state has been doing for decades.

Liberal will be heading to Dodge City to play in a tri-team event.

“We get the jamboree,” Dunlap said. It gives us a week to prepare for our opponents, and it gets the freshmen an extra game.”

The scrimmage will take place in Dodge City at 4 p.m. Aug. 29.

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