In its 53rd year, the 2023 Ascension St. John ZooRun presented by CommunityCare is proving to be a popular event for many in the Tulsa community. Among the runners are students, teachers and parents of Town and Country School, a school that accepts students with learning disabilities, ADHD and Autism Spectrum Disorders.
In 2012, the school began a running club to provide students an athletic outlet and encourage teamwork. What started as running laps soon turned into much more when the students began participating in community runs like Tulsa Zoo’s. The club now boasts 83 members out of 175 students.
“After the pandemic, we decided ZooRun was our primary run,” said Town and Country School Athletic Director Ray Odor. “It is so appealing to the families in our school. The kids get to do something fun, experience the excitement of an athletic event, hang out with other kids their age, see animals and work toward personal goals. Then, after the race, we see so many smiles as they celebrate their accomplishments.”
Odor saw a unique opportunity for the students at Town and Country School when he learned Tulsa Zoo awards a trophy and prize to the top schools with the most registered runners. Town and Country School has won the competition in the small schools of 499 or less category for the past two years.
“I think we have a good chance of winning for the third year in a row,” said Odor. “We have a record-breaking 134 participants this year. I would love nothing more than to add a third trophy for us to display. It gives our students a reason to celebrate and a sense of pride.”
No matter the outcome, all participating school groups win. Tulsa Zoo gives $1 back per registered runner for each group of five or more that signs up through a school or club.
Find out if Odor and his students will win by attending ZooRun or checking tulsazoo.org/run later in the day.
The Ascension St. John ZooRun Presented by CommunityCare is scheduled for Earth Day, Saturday, April 22. The event will include a 5k, 10k and the Ascension St. John 1-mile Fun Run. Registration will be open on race day. Proceeds from the run will benefit the new William S. Smith African Wilds: Carnivores complex, which is expected to break ground in 2023.
For safety purposes, the gates to Mohawk Park will close at 8:20 a.m. on race day and will reopen to the general public at 10 a.m.
Thank you to the following race sponsors: Ascension St. John, CommunityCare, Andy B’s Bowl Social, Wooten Plumbing, A-Best Roofing, Admiral Express, Benchmark Custom Buildings, City of Tulsa Water and Sewer Department, DICK’S Sporting Goods, Jimmy’s Egg, Josh and Brittany Rhodes Family, Levinson Sullivan Dentistry, Melting Pot, Merritt’s Bakery, Oklahoma Chiller, Public Service Company of Oklahoma, Sprouts Farmers Market, Sugar Llamas, Trader Joe’s, The Traveling Bean Coffee Company, Verity Family, and Walmart Supply Train.