Co-founded by Carbondale community members Marian Morris and Kathy Jones in 2017, the Community Fun and Fitness Relays (CFFR) has three key aims:
To bring families and individuals of all ages, races, backgrounds, and skill levels in the Southern Illinois region together in the great outdoors to enjoy a sport that is readily accessible to all;
To give participants a reason to get into (or stay in) shape and challenge themselves to set and achieve health and fitness goals;
To raise money for local and international non-profit organizations that serve youth and aim to grow them to become future leaders with global consciences and hearts for service.
The 2023 CFFR is presented through the collaborative efforts of the Planning Committee members below:
Marian Morris, Co-Director
Marian is a native of Ghana, West Africa, who was raised in Obo-Kwahu. A Canadian national and Carbondale “transplant,” she is an SIUC alumna (Class of ’02, ’04, ’06) who ran the 400-meters on a track scholarship under coaches Don DeNoon and Connie Price-Smith, among others, during her five-year tenure on the Saluki Women’s Track team. A member of the University Honors Program, she earned Bachelor and Master of Science degrees in Communication Disorders and Sciences and a Master of Arts in Applied Linguistics from SIUC, instructing in that department's TESOL program for a time following that. Marian was the winner of the 1998 SIUC Alpha Phi Alpha Miss Eboness Pageant and the Midwest States’ Regional Miss Black and Gold Pageant, as well as the Miss Congeniality award at the ensuing National Miss Black and Gold Pageant in Dallas, Texas. A Saluki Scholar who served a term as President of the Student-Athlete Advisory Board, she represented SIUC at the NCAA Student-Athlete Leadership Conference in 2001 and the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association Minority Student Leadership Program in 2003. Marian was a group fitness instructor at the SIU Student Recreation Center during her studies at SIU and competed successfully in the Mr. & Ms. SIU Bodybuilding Championships and other amateur natural bodybuilding and figure competitions upon the conclusion of her Saluki running career. She is a member of her church’s praise band and was an active part of the Newman Catholic Student Center for 15 years, singing in the choir there as well as with The Belletones, a small a cappella doo-wop group that entertains area children and nursing home residents. An aesthetic sports, fitness, and performing arts enthusiast, she is a National Academy of Sports Medicine-certified personal trainer currently employed as a speech-language pathologist. Marian fervently believes that, above all else, we were created to love God and one another and glorify Him in all that we do. She is thrilled for the opportunity the CFFR affords her to that end, among the innumerable others with which she is blessed every day.
Kathy Jones, Co-Director
Kathy retired as Senior Associate Athletic Director in December 2017 after 18 years of
service in Saluki Athletics. She supervised all of the Olympic sports at one time or
another and was the department’s point person for monitoring student-athlete well-
being. She oversaw compliance and the student services areas, including academic
advising, athletic training, and strength and conditioning. Jones headed up
departmental efforts on diversity, gender equity issues, and departmental strategic
planning. She was heavily involved on the SIU campus and nationally during her
tenure, serving on numerous committees, including the Administrative/Professional
(A/P) Staff Council from 2011 to 2015, chairing the Council for three years. Kathy has a
long history of involvement on campus in student-centered issues. She received the
SIU Women’s Professional Advancement Mentorship Award in 2015. Kathy served on
the Steering Committee that planned the inaugural SIU campus service project called
The Big Event that launched in 2017. She was part of a team of SIU staff members
from Wellness, Health Education and Saluki Athletics that wrote and received a three-
year NCAA CHOICES grant for an alcohol harm reduction program for SIU students
beginning in fall 2015. Kathy also served on the Chancellor/Mayoral Sexual Assault
Task Force (later renamed Sexual Assault Response Team) from 2002 to 2015.
Nationally, Kathy represented the Missouri Valley Conference (MVC) for six years on the
NCAA Division I Leadership Council and the NCAA Management Council. She served as
an adjunct SIU faculty member, teaching courses in the Department of Kinesiology and
the School of Law. She is a Saluki alum, graduating with a Master's in Higher Education
– College Student Personnel from SIU in 1977 and from William Mitchell College of Law
Since retiring, Kathy has continued to be involved in the Community Fun & Fitness
Relays and the SIU Network Empowering Women (formerly the Women’s Task Force),
participating in the planning of the annual SIU Conference on Women.
Carla Langan is an SIUC alumni, graduating in 1999 with a degree in Finance. She spent the first 20 years of her career working for a public utility in Business Administration Supervision and later in Construction Supervision. In 2021, she found her place of belonging as the Director of Finance at Brehm Preparatory School, Inc, a non-profit private boarding school serving students with learning disabilities and differences from around the world. There she manages the finances for the Prep School (serving students in 6th – 12th grade), for OPTIONS Transitions to Independence (serving post-secondary students of college age and beyond), and for the Foundation. She brings to the CFFR group her experience in fund-raising, financial management, and working with youngsters. In her time away from work, she enjoys serving in her church, spending time with her husband, 2 children, and 2 dogs, and also helps lead a non-profit Jeep club, 618 Jeeps, with over 18,000 members.
Brad Siemer is a native of Effingham, Illinois, who has lived in Carterville, Illinois, the past 18 years. He is extremely proud of his two children and the successes they have achieved both in the classroom and in athletics. He is a graduate of Illinois State University with a degree in History education. He enjoys working at Brehm Preparatory School in Carbondale, Illinois, where he teaches social studies and enjoys making long-lasting connections with the students who attend the school. He is very proud of his wife, who makes a difference every day as an employee of SIH. He enjoys watching sports and coaching basketball. He enjoys being a leader in a local youth group, where he can connect with young people and see them develop into young adults who lead by their faith and their great personalities. He enjoys volunteering and helping others see the benefit of volunteering their time for others. In his free time, he enjoys doing yard work, being outside, and hanging out with friends. Being involved with the CFFR again provides an opportunity to volunteer and make connections with young people.
Clinette “Clair” Hayes, great-granddaughter of Eurma C. Hayes, is a native of Carbondale, Illinois. She is currently the Deputy City Clerk for the City of Carbondale and has been a city employee for roughly 18 years. Clair received her Bachelor of Science degree in Workforce Education & Development specializing in Administrative Services and Master of Science degree in Kinesiology focusing on Sport Administration, both from SIUC. Clair is a proud alumna and avid sports fan. She can be spotted in the crowds at almost all Saluki basketball and football home games. She is also very active at Bethel A.M.E. Church, her home church, where she serves as the Church Treasurer and a member of the Steward Board. Her other hobbies include singing, traveling, fitness, and anything basketball-related. Clair is very excited to serve on the CFFR Committee as it benefits a program that is important in her community and hopes this event will be a positive impact on all communities in Carbondale.
Kathy Hollister was employed for 33 years at SIU. She was Assistant Director of Recreational Sports and Services. She was responsible for Special Populations, which included People with Disabilities, Wheelchair Sports, Youth and Families, and International Students. For 10 years, Kathy served on the Illinois State Board for Special Olympics. She was also a Carbondale Park District Commissioner, 6 years. She is the official scorekeeper for the SIU Women's Basketball Team and Clerk of Course with SIU Track and Field. Kathy graduated from Central Michigan University in 1974 with a Bachelor of Science in Education and a Master of Science in Education in 1986 from SIU. An avid fitness buff herself, she enjoys working track meets and looks forward to offering her expertise.
Shema Ruperto is the Director of For Kids' Sake, an international nonprofit that cares for, educates, and empowers thousands of orphans and students in Bangladesh. With her experience of organizing the annual For Kids' Sake Superhero 5K since 2011, Shema offers advice, consulting, and brainstorming power to the team. She joined the CCFR team out of pure love and respect for the organizers, Marian and Kathy. Their dedication and passion for this event and the cause inspire her to help in any way she can.
OUR CONTACT INFO: