Woman goes the extra mile while honoring fallen service members

The Early evening news on KOTA Territory TV
Published: May. 29, 2023 at 5:31 PM CDT
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STURGIS, S.D. (KOTA) - During the Memorial Day holiday, people across the country honor the men and women who have died while serving in the United States armed forces.

That’s why Mai Richards runs the 22 miles between Spearfish and the Buffalo Chip’s Freedom Field.

Carrying an American Flag and wearing combat boots, she dedicates each mile to a fallen service member, stopping and reading names throughout the run.

“I always want to live a life worthy of their sacrifices and just remembering that. It’s not just one day but being able to show that appreciation on this day is valuable and important,” said Richards.

This year she read more than 50 names during her honor run.

Despite the physical toll it takes on her body, Richards says it feels good to know she has family and friends waiting for her at the finish line.

“It was great. There were points where I did cry,” said Richards. “I had some of the supporters here call me and to just hear their voice was my motivation.”

“There is a part in her heart that wants to honor all those that made the ultimate sacrifice and we’d shared some tears over this. So, it’s not as simple as just a run, there is a lot of thought and a lot of emotions that go into this,” said Greg Smith, who has worked with Richards on her since she started three years ago.

Richards’ honor run helps raise money for the Sturgis Buffalo Chip’s annual freedom celebration which will occur August 10.