Running has become a community event in Oaks, with many from the community gathering to train and take part in events throughout the area.
On Saturday, June 17, a large contingency of Oaks runners traveled to take part in the fifth annual Water Run in Salina.
"The kids really enjoyed the water run," said Danita Fields who has been coordinating the trips. "We have been from Tulsa for the St. Patrick's Day run to Kansas City for the underground run and others all across Oklahoma."
More than 20 runners represented the Oaks-Mission Public School.
"The kids enjoyed the run with the water, the mud and the view," said Fields.
In its fifth year, the water run at Salina began when members of the Salina Chamber of Commerce needed to raise funds for the town's firework display.
The now annual event begins at the American Legion on the west side of town and comes down main street of what is deemed as the Oldest White Settlement in Oklahoma.
Along the way the runners are sprayed with water from members of the volunteer fire department.
The route then turns and goes along the top of the dike that surrounds the town separating the town from the waters of Lake Hudson.
The route then comes off the dike and the runners go through a number of blow up water slides - some that include obstacle courses - before again being sprayed with water and ending back at the starting point, the American Legion.
"The American Legion had been doing the fireworks show for years and needed some help to continue to put the show on," explained Tena Pritchett with Salina Chamber of Commerce and run coordinator. "We didn't want to see the long time tradition fade away so we stepped up as far as the chamber of commerce was concerned and took over the show.
"5K runs have become a great family event and I wanted to incorporate our beautiful lake and community so I came up with the water run. It has become a very large and popular event for our community in itself. We get a lot of help from a lot of people to put this on on."
This is the first time several of the Oaks students took part in the water run.
"It was very fun. I help a guy named a named Terry get up one of the water slides and I loved it. I would really like to come back next year," said Gabriel Livers. "I love coming on these runs. Spending time with friends and having a good time."
Jeannea Warren agreed.
"It was a lot of fun doing the obstacles and getting sprayed with water," Warren said. "It was fun because you could walk or run with people.
"My favorite part was probably the blow ups you could watch people wipe out while trying to get up them. I totally want to come back next year. One of the funnest runs I have been on."
For senior Joseph "Choogie" Young competing in the runs are not only enjoyable, but are helping him prepare for the upcoming football season.
"This was a lot of fun. I liked getting sprayed with water the best," said Young. "I have been on all the runs to help me get into shape. I haven't missed one of the runs. Whether you are running or walking you have people cheering you on all the time."
Chassie Tucker from Leach traveled with the group.
"I have been to two runs so far and I love it," Tucker said. "My favorite part of the run was when you were running up on top and you get the view of the lake. I also really liked the the water slides and I got to meet some new people while running. It was a real social event and it was a lot fun."
Several of the Oaks runners came home with medals in their age groups including Tucker, Nayla Trejo, Hali Sanders and Sharon Peaveyhouse.
"I thought the water run turned out awesome even after the rough start with the weather," said Gail Fox with the Salina Chamber of Commerce. "We had 119 runners registered participants this year the largest number for the this event.
"Oaks schools certainly played a big part in our growth this year. It is awesome that the school promotes healthy living and activity by encouraging their students to participate in activities such as this and pay for them to participate."
Fox said the Oaks students were "very polite and courteous."
"Oaks schools should be proud of the job they are doing with their students," Fox said. "We are looking forward to possibly see them come back next year for annual water run. We would love to have them back. Thank you Oaks for your support."
Fields said the run played a role in school administrators' goals to encourage healthy living among the students.
"We are trying to get these kids motivated and keep them active," Fields said. "We also want the to enjoy themselves, see other places and have fun at the same time while doing the 5K runs."
James and Amie Vaughn of Kansas also competed in the run with James winning his age group 35-39 year old males.