Wards join patriarch on anniversary of 1958 run

Published 2:46 am Saturday, September 29, 2018

What began 60 years ago as an Auburn freshman’s quest for a cake and a kiss became a family outing this past weekend when Andalusia residents Dr. Jon Ward, Dr. Allen Ward and Sydney Ward joined their father and grandfather, Roy Ward, in the same race.

The annual Rosen-Hutsell Omicron Delta Kappa Cake Race begins on campus at Cater Lawn, runs through downtown Auburn and ends on the 50-yard line of Jordan-Hare Stadium. This year marked the 90th anniversary of the 5K (3.1 mile) race.

When the elder Ward was an 18-year-old AU freshman, his fraternity, Kappa Sigma, wanted all of the pledges to runt he race. Roy Ward told The Auburn Plainsman last week that he became more interested in participated when he learned there was a free cake and for the first 25 runners to cross the 50-yard line, and a kiss from Miss Auburn for the first male winner. He was the 14th runner across the line in 1958.

This year, his goal was just to finish.

Both Jon Ward and Allen Ward are runners. But Jon Ward said his dad is not.

“Earlier this summer, he got in his mind he wanted to run,” Ward said. “When he started running, he couldn’t run a minute. He slowly built up until he could run five minutes, then 10, then 20. Saturday, he finished in 49 minutes, and he ran the whole race.”

Jon Ward has been running since 1997, and said his brother picked up the hobby about 15 or 16 years ago. Niece Sydney is a dancer, “who really didn’t need to train to run,” he said.

Like their father, both Jon Ward and Allen Ward are Auburn graduates.