Joyner-Kersee will start the Rotary Criterium Festival

Olympic champion and Metro East native Jackie Joyner-Kersee will serve as an official starter for one of the competitive events during the 10th annual TheBank of Edwardsville/Busey Bank Rotary Criterium Festival on Saturday, Aug. 17, in downtown Edwardsville.

A fundraiser and community celebration hosted by the Edwardsville Rotary Club, the festival includes a series of high-speed professional bicycle races complimented by foot races that attract hundreds of athletes from around the country, as well as local cyclists and runners. Cycling participants in past festivals have ranged in age from 9 to 76 years old.

Joyner-Kersee will start runners who compete in the Downtown Dash, a two-lap, 1.4-mile run that is open to a wide range of running skill levels beginning at 6 p.m. on the cycling course.

The Criterium has grown rapidly the past decade into a unique signature event for the St. Louis metropolitan area. In addition to the foot races, the festival includes free races and an art tent for children, a Food Zone with five local restaurants, and an open container perimeter, all on the streets of Downtown Edwardsville. Event proceeds are used to support the Rotary Club’s charitable activities, including grants, scholarships and service projects in the local community and around the world.

“Having the caliber of athlete and person that Jackie is participate not only enhances the competitive nature of the Criterium but the fellowship of the festival as well,” Criterium Race Director Brian Mulhall said. “Spectators can casually walk up and down Main Street with a beverage, talking and laughing with family and friends, eating and watching the races super up-close. Parents can spend creative time with their children in the Kids Zone. It’s just a great opportunity to unplug and participate in a fun event that’s truly unique to our area.”

The professional cycling portion of the festival is sanctioned by the USA Cycling Association and the Missouri Bicycle Racing Association and includes seven-high speed races with $10,000 in total prize money – one of the largest payouts for a bike race in the region.

Details about the 2019 Criterium can be found by visiting Criteriumedwardsville.com or finding “Edwardsville Rotary Criterium” on Facebook. For more information regarding the Downtown Dash, which includes cash prizes, visit Downtowndash.info.

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