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Running for Mother Earth


Entering its 45th year, Earth Day has become a prominent celebration locally and internationally. The height of hippie and flower child culture in the United States, 1970 brought the death of Jimi Hendrix, the last Beatles album and Simon & Garfunkel’s “Bridge Over Troubled Water.” Protest was the order of the day, but saving the planet was not the cause.

Earth Day in the Junction will take place on Sunday, April 19.

Earth Day in the Junction will take place on Sunday, April 19.

“Earth Day is a special day to honor and celebrate the earth,” said Katie Rooney,

events manager for Valley Junction. “It is a day to spread awareness about issues that affect the environment and a reminder to do our best to care for and protect our Earth.

And for the past decade, Historic Valley Junction has celebrated with their Earth Day in the Junction Celebration. On April 19, all are invited out to celebrate nature and the outdoors with a fun 5K Run/Walk and children’s fun run.

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“Valley Junction is invested in protecting the environment, and we want our whole community invested as well,” Rooney said. “What’s more earth-friendly, green or sustainable than historic buildings in walkable neighborhoods?”Earth Day Kids Race

While there will be other activities going on throughout the day at Valley Junction, Rooney said this year focuses on the 5K Run/Walk and Kids Fun Run. In the spirit of Earth Day, all participants will receive an Earth Day in the Junction organic cotton t-shirt designed by 8/7 Central and a reusable water bottle at the finish line.

The 5K course starts and finishes in the 200 block of Fifth Street in Historic Valley Junction. The route takes you throughout the district and neighborhood, all the way to 11th and Maple streets, then back again. This route was chosen as a way for participants to get to know the beautiful historic area, Rooney said, from businesses to parks to homes and more.

A $50 gift certificate to Fitness Sports will be awarded for the overall male and female finisher of the 5K run. Additionally, the top two male and female finishers in each of the 10-year-deep age groups (younger than 20, 20-29, 30-39, 40-49, 50-59, 60 and older) will be awarded gift certificates to the shops in Valley Junction.Earth Day

“We had almost 200 participants last year for the 5K, and we hope for even more this year,” Rooney said.

Last year’s times to beat were just over the 17-minute mark for men and a little past the 21-minute mark for women. But no matter if you’re out to race or take in some beautiful weather, Earth Day in the Junction is about celebrating our planet.

“We hope that the Earth Day 5K is a fun way for community members to celebrate the earth,” Rooney said. “We also hope that it is a reminder to do our best to have as little impact on the environment as possible.”


Sunday, April 19
5K starts at 9:30 a.m., Children’s Fun Run at
10:30 a.m.
On-site registration on Sunday will be at the
West Des Moines Community Center, 217 Fifth
St. in Valley Junction from 7:30-8:30 a.m.
Cost is $30/adult and $20/child


David Rowley is an Iowa native with a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Iowa and a master’s in film journalism from the University of Glasgow in Scotland.


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