The second annual Orion 5K will be back in Downtown Memphis on Saturday, June 8 at 7:00 p.m. on the east side of FedEx Forum. Formerly the Gibson Guitar 5K, the Orion 5K is the third of four races in the M-Town Series sponsored by University Clinical Health.
As a highlight of this year’s event, the male and female racers who win each youth category (9 & under, 10-14, 15-19) will have an unprecedented opportunity to award $500 from Orion to a 501©3 nonprofit of their choice.
“Memphis is known for its generous spirit, and Orion is proud to be part of such a caring community,” said Orion CEO Daniel Weickenand. “In celebration of the bicentennial, we hope to instill the spirit of giving for our youngest runners to give back to their hometown.”
This award is one of several unique details planned for this year’s Orion 5K. There will also be categories for the fastest Father/Son, Father/Daughter, Mother/Son, and Mother/Daughter teams.
In honor of Memphis’ bicentennial year, the first 2,000 Orion 5K finishers will receive a commemorative medal designed specifically for the #MEM200 celebration. The overall male and female winners will also walk away with the Orion 5K championship belt, a keepsake of Memphis running excellence awarded for the first time in 2018 to champions Matt Weikert (16:39) and Kirsten Scheel (19:58).
This year’s course begins at 4th Street & MLK Boulevard just east of the FedEx Forum, taking runners west on Beale then north on Riverside Drive before winding its way back to the Forum, where a “Bicentennial Jam” awaits in Church Park.
Entertainment at the Orion 5K post-race party will also serve as a tribute to Memphis history with local artist Graham Winchester, a direct descendant of city co-founder James Winchester and his son Marcus, the first Mayor of the Bluff City. In addition to his family lineage, Winchester’s reputation as a talented and multi-faceted artist makes him an ideal musical guest for this year’s Orion 5K.
“Lately I am influenced by the iconic Memphis bands and singers,” said Winchester. “Everything from Big Star to Booker T and the MGs, Jim Dickinson to Sid Selvidge, Carl Perkins to Jesse Winchester.”
Winchester will lead a 7-piece band under a big top filled with food, refreshments, and games for all ages in Church Park. The area will be fenced for the post-race celebration and filled with inflatables, games, and face painting in a large, family-friendly Kid Zone.
The Orion 5K benefits St. Patrick Community Outreach, Inc., a 501©3 nonprofit that operates the city’s largest emergency food pantry in Memphis’ most economically challenged zip code, 38126. In addition, the agency carries fresh fruits and vegetables to Memphis “food deserts” and sells them at cost. At a Sunday Soup Kitchen operated 52 Sundays a year, St. Patrick feeds thousands of the hungry from their location at 4th Street & Pontotoc Avenue.
Registration for the Orion 5K is open online at orion5k.racesonline.com until 11:59 p.m. on Friday, June 7 and on-site on race day from 4:00-6:30 p.m. Several packet pickup locations will be available the week of the event. See website for event details.
WHAT: Orion 5K
WHERE: East side of FedEx Forum, Downtown Memphis (4th Street & MLK Boulevard)
WHEN: 7:00 p.m., Saturday, June 8, 2019
WHY: To feed the hungry served by 501(c)(3) nonprofit, St. Patrick Community Outreach, Inc.
INFO: Joe Birch, Race Director – (901) 726-0419 or email@example.com
ABOUT ORION FEDERAL CREDIT UNION
Founded in Memphis in 1957, Orion Federal Credit Union has grown to become the largest credit union in the Mid-South with more than 72,000 members and $860 million in assets. Orion recently expanded to Little Rock, Arkansas, and offers a full spectrum of banking options ranging from savings and checking accounts to home, auto, personal and commercial loans.
ABOUT ST. PATRICK COMMUNITY OUTREACH
St. Patrick Community Outreach, Inc., a Memphis-based 501©3 nonprofit that carries fresh fruit, vegetables, and other healthy foods to parts of the community that don’t have easy access to affordable, nutritious foods. St. Patrick’s is able to bring healthy foods to food deserts around the city. It also operates the city’s largest emergency food pantry in Memphis’ most economically challenged zip code.