Witches, runners compete in annual 5K


Maggie Busch

Runners cross the starting line at the start of the annual Spooky Duke Race (Nov. 5, 2022).

Matthew Chapman, Reporter

Rain did not stop the 12th year of the Spooky Duke Race and it’s 318 participants from helping raise money for the Parent to Parent network. 

Spooky Duke, held on Saturday, is an event including a 5K, 10K and a costume contest. Participants were urged to dress up for the event so that not only a race winner could be crowned, but also a costume contest winner.

Parent to Parent is a network providing support and information in the High Country to families with children that have a disability, behavioral issues or a mental illness. They are stationed in the Reich College of Education but serve several counties in and around the High Country.

“The Spooky Duke is one of the largest fundraisers for Parent to Parent. All of the proceeds go towards helping families in the High Country,” said Rebekah Saylors, director of communications for the Reigh College of Education.

Some participants attend virtually, opting to run on their own course if they aren’t able to attend the event. People join in from many different states to support the cause.


The Spooky Duke Race is named after Charles Duke, the former dean of the Reich College of Education. He became the sponsor for the event in 2013 and the name was changed to Spooky Duke in 2014.

“It’s a great collaboration between Parent to Parent, Appalachian Best Buddies and the Appalchian Educators,” said Savannah Wilson, a volunteer for Appalachian Best Buddies and junior special education major.

Allison Tippin, junior elementary education major and a member of Appalchian Educators and the Honors College said the Appalachian Educators have been working this event for several years. The Appalchian Educators had a tent where children who were not participating could partake in different activities and hang out.

“We love seeing the costumes and being able to hang out with the kids,” Tippin said.

The race commenced at the Peacock Hall parking lot in East campus. Runners then ran a lap that would bring them right back to Peacock Hall. Participants of the 10K ran two laps instead of one.

Racing began at 9:30 a.m. as runners readied for either a three mile or six mile run. The start of the race was a sea of different and unique costumes. Adults, children, even dogs, were dressed up for the event.

Cassondra Greer, first time participant of the Spooky Duke race came dressed with her friends as the “Salem Sisters.”

L to R: Cassondra Greer, Miranda Lee, Casey Cockerham, Katie Fox, and Jade Blowers ran the 5K dressed as a group of witches (Nov. 5, 2022).
(Maggie Busch)

“The race was wet and challenging,” Greer said.

After the race ended it was time for The Spooky Dukes costume contest.

“Bat dogs” took home the win in the pet’s division while Lord Farquad won in the 15+ division.

The overall male winner for the 5K race was Rylan Haskett, sophomore computer information systems major and athlete at App State, who finished with a time of 16 minutes and 39 seconds. Jessica Howard finished first overall in the women’s division with a time of 22minutes and 41 seconds.

Rylan Haskett runs through the finish line, placing as the Male Overall winner for the 5K portion of the race (Nov. 5, 2022).
(Maggie Busch)

For the 10K, sophomore psychology major Fulton Shober came in first for the men, clocking in a time of 36 minutes and 45 seconds. Laura McKenzie followed that up with a 49 minutes and 40 seconds, securing her the win for the women’s 10K.

Mason Morris, former Appalchian Educator, DJ for the event and 2017 App State alum, has been helping out with the Spooky Duke Race since 2014. As a member of the Appalachian Educators, he worked the event as a student and has continued his service past his educational years. 

“The best part is seeing everyone come out for the kids. What I love about the High Country is everyone pitches in together,” Morris said.