A look back at the SJO 5K

PhotoNews Media has covered nearly every SJO 5K race since its humble beginning in 2008. This weekend will be no exception when the starter's gun fires this Saturday at 7:30 am on Main Street signalling the start to this year's race.

Despite its growing competitive field of runners each year featuring some of the best distance athletes across several age categories, the SJO 5k has an incredibly family friendly, supportive atmosphere.

Proceeds from the event supports the St. Joseph Middle School and St. Joseph-Ogden High School girls and boys cross country and track teams. Revenue from entry fees help pay for uniforms, warm-ups, travel expenses and other costs incurred during the season.

Here's a sprint down memory lane highlighting some of our favorite photos from nearly 2,000 photos and a decade of SJO 5K coverage. Search for more photos using the search tool at the top of the next column. Enter name, date or race to find more great action photos from this race and other in the PhotoNews Media archive.

SJO High School girls cross-country team
Members of the SJO High School girls cross-country team pause for the singing of the national anthem before the start of the St. Joseph Festival 5K Run/Walk on August 8, 2009. A record 313 runners competed in this year's event. (Photo: Photonews Media/Clark Brooks)

Ross Baker A runner makes a splash at the SJO 5K
On the left, dressed as Superman, Ross Baker runs as an unregistered competitor at the St. Joseph Festival 5K in 2009. This year's costume was the first in what will be come a tradition by Baker at the annual community race. On the right, a runner splashes a cup of water on to her face to stay cool as heads down the final stretch to the finish line in the 2009 race. (Photos: Photonews Media/Clark Brooks)

Carol Firkins
Carol Firkins is all smiles as she heads out on the course on the fun walk at the St. Joseph 5K Run and Fun Walk in 2008. (Photo: Photonews Media/Clark Brooks)

Chelsea Blaase Runner Michael Tankersley
August 9, 2014 - St. Joseph, IL - Chelsea Blaase runs to the women's overall title at the 2014 SJO 5K. Blaase, who finished the course with a time of 17:07.2, won her fourth consecutive women's title at the race. Then a University of Tennesee standout, she trimmed a minute and 39 seconds off her time 2013 time at this year's race. Over 300 area runners competed in the seventh installment of the annual event. Meanwhile, on the right, Mike Tankersley rounds the corner at Evergreen Drive and Main on his way to the finish line in 2013. (Photos: Photonews Media/Clark Brooks)

Piles of bananas wait for runners after the St. Joseph Community Festival 5K Saturday morning. Over 190 competitors ran for top honors, trophies and 40 door prizes offered at the inaugural race in 2008. (Photo: Photonews Media/Clark Brooks)

Tracy Ingram waves her arms in celebration John Ryan Thompsen
Tracy Ingram waves her arms in celebration as she nears the finish line and a ninth place finish in the Women's 40 - 44 division at the 2014 SJO 5K. Ingram finished the course with a time of 39:57.6. See more photos from the 2014 race here ... On the right, Ryan Thompsen smiles as he recognized with his Hometown Award after running the SJO 5K on Saturday morning. Earlier, the student-athlete at North Central College and former St. Joseph-Ogden High School standout, received the All-Area Circuit's top overall runner award. The crown was courtesy of NCC teammate Ryan Root who won the overall race title. (Photos: Photonews Media/Clark Brooks)

2009 SJO 5K top overall finishers
Justin Jones, right, and Jolee Paden, on the left, pose for a photo after receiving their awards at the 2009 St. Joseph Community Festival 5k, the name of the race before becoming the SJO 5K. Paden was the top women's finisher circumventing the course in 20:42. Jones was the overall winner taking an even 16 minutes to win the top award. Paden will be a sophomore at St. Joseph-Ogden in a few weeks, while Jones, an Oakwood graduate, will attend Olivet Nazarene this fall where he will run cross country on a partial scholarship. (Photo: Photonews Media/Clark Brooks)

St. Joseph-Ogden High School 2024 baseball seniors