The second annual Run for the Roses to benefit the Kansas State University Gardens saw a generous turnout Saturday including celebrity runners and walkers, taking advantage of a good spring weather morning.

Jan Pishny and husband Lyle from Stillwell drove in Friday and Pishny finished first in her age group, but says she was more impressed with the gardens than her own accomplishment.

“This garden is so beautiful. I’m glad they’re doing some renovations to it. It’s something they should showcase for the whole community,” she said.

Also participating was 96-year-old Marvin Hachmeister, fresh off his whirlwind trip to Washington, D.C. on the most recent Wamego Honor Flight, which returned Thursday. He considered not participating, but says he was pleased he did.

“I try to wait until the irises are blooming. It’s always beautiful. You can walk here anytime of the year and it’s beautiful,” he said.

About 300 participants came out for the run, up from 200 last year. Among the youngest was 9-year-old Eden McNutt from Woodrow Wilson Elementary School. She was fond of the unicorn balloon she received, but also described her favorite part of the garden, the Insect Zoo.

“It’s got a bunch of different insects and it’s got leaves you can feed to the ants. If you answer a quick survey question about your trips here, you can get free honey sticks,” she said.

Saturday’s proceeds will help provide annual maintenance and purchase new displays.

Officials with the K-State Gardens are working on plans to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the facility in 2025.