The Charley Melvin Mad Bomber Run For Your Life was a unique 5K run/3K walk that drew thousands of runners and walkers from throughout the Midwest to Iola, Kansas each July. Running from 2009 through 2016, it was the largest such event in Southeast Kansas.
The event commemorated the 1905 dynamite bombing of three saloons just after midnight by a local prohibitionist, Charley Melvin. This event brought national attention to the then-lawless boomtown of Iola, Kansas … and broke a whole lot of bottles! The Mad Bomber Run took a destructive historical event and turned it into something positive for the community, and we had a whole lot of fun doing it.
The Mad Bomber Run was an unforgettable annual event. In addition to the run/walk, it featured a carnival, old time games and the Mad Bomber “drag race” — Iola’s mostly-dignified community members sprinting in drag. Forgive the pun, but it was a blast, folks.