Last Joplin Memorial Run draws 2,300 runners

May 18—About 2,300 runners participated in the last Joplin Memorial Run on Saturday morning, honoring the victims of the 2011 tornado.

Organizers announced in November that this year's run would be the last. They cited several reasons including a general decline in most runs nationwide, declining participation in the Joplin event, and volunteer fatigue because of the number of hours it takes to plan and stage the annual event.

The run became a memorial event after the May 22, 2011, tornado in Joplin took 161 lives and destroyed 8,000 structures in the city.

Since then, the event produced $295,211 that has been donated to nonprofits for tornado relief, rebuilding, grants for local healthy activities, and to install a 17-foot sculpture memorializing the 161 killed.

Banners bearing the names of the 161 whose lives were lost in the deadly storm have been displayed each year. The final Walk of Silence through those banners was held Friday night.

The banners were distributed to those who asked for them after Saturday's races.