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Popeye Races at 40: More prizes, age groups for this year's event

  • Runners line up awaiting the start of a previous year's Popeye Race event on Swanwick Street in Chester. This year's race is Sept. 7.

    Runners line up awaiting the start of a previous year's Popeye Race event on Swanwick Street in Chester. This year's race is Sept. 7.
    Jim Beers photo

By Jim Beers
Contributing writer
updated: 8/28/2019 10:15 AM

This year's Popeye Race is going all out with prizes that mark the 40th anniversary of both the Popeye Picnic and the 5K run that bears its name.

This year's Popeye Picnic is next week Friday through Sunday, Sept. 6-8. The race is on Saturday, Sept. 7 and features a 5K Run, a 5K Competitive Walk and a 1.5-mile Fun Run/Walk. The racing starts at 8 a.m., with packet pickup from 6:45-7:45 a.m. at the Buena Vista Bank parking lot. The events begin in front of Chester Video on Swanwick Street.

Registration is $20, and any proceeds leftover will go to track and field and cross country programs at Chester High School, Chester Grade School, St. Mary's Catholic School and St. John Lutheran School.

In addition to the usual array of Popeye Race awards, every participant who signed up by Aug. 24 will receive an official 2019 Popeye Race T-shirt. The overall male and female winners of the 5K Run will receive a Smartwatch.

In the 5K run, awards will also be presented to the top five male and female finishers, as well as the top three finishers in each age group, both male and female.

In the 5K Competitive Walk, awards will be presented to the men's and women's winners and to the top three finishers in each age group.

Finally, the first place finisher in each category will also be awarded a $40 cash prize in celebration of the 40th anniversary of the races.

Attendance prizes will also be selected from among the entries of all of the participants. The grand attendance prize" will be a 60-inch television. The winner must be present.

Sponsors for this year's races are: Silkworm Incorporated; Kerkhover, Coffey and Gremmels Law Office; Uptown Barbers; Memorial Hospital of Chester; First Bank of Chester; Buena Vista National Bank; Chester National Bank; and the Gilster Mary-Lee Corp.

In addition to the sponsors, 12 contributors are helping to finance the event: Larry Soellner, Southern Illinois Eyecare; Aaron Tretter, financial adviser; Drew McClerren, financial adviser; Paul Gentry, State Farm Insurance; Dan Colvis Investments; Matthew McCoy, Country Financial; Apexnetwork Physical Therapy-Chester; Muddy River Coffee; John Hunter, Victor's Medicenter Pharmacy-Chester; Patrick Miller, DMD & Philip Miller, DMD; Chester Clinic & Steeleville Family Practice; and Robert L. Platt, DDS.

Age groups

Both female and male race divisions will have 14 age categories: 14 and younger; 15-19; 20-24; 25-29; 30-34; 35-39; 40-44; 45-49; 50-54; 55-59; 60-64; 65-69; 70-79; and 80 years and older.

The 5K Competitive Walk for both Men and Women will have seven age groups: 24 and younger; 25-35; 36-45; 46-55; 56-69, 70-79; and 80 years and older.

For the competitive events, there will be chip timing provided by the River-to-River Running Club.

Registration is ongoing. Online, go to: On paper, complete an application and mail it to 5 Greenbriar Lane, Chester, 62233, with a check made out to Chester Running Club. Applications are available at Spinach Can Collectibles, Chester City Hall, from Race Director Bob Platt and Bob Koenegstein.

For more information about the 2019 Popeye Race, call Bob Platt at (618) 826-2827 or Bob Koenegstein at (618) 615-2646.