• 59°

25th run Saturday at military park

[3/01/04]The Run Thru History, the largest road racing event in the state, will celebrate its 25th anniversary Saturday at the Vicksburg Military Park, and organizers are expecting at least 1,000 participants.

The 10-kilometer run starts at the park’s arch at 8:30 a.m., followed by the 5K race walk five minutes later.

Many more than the 1,000 participants are expected to turn out for the post-race party that includes tunes by Vicksburg band The Chill and refreshments, both at Battlefield Inn.

“We never realized it would get this far and go this strong,” said Mack Varner, who is in his 18th year as race director.

As of Sunday, 500 people had registered for the race. That’s down from the last anniversary run in 1999, when a record 1,548 people participated, but still near the average.

About 850 people registered for the run, walk, and 1-mile fun run last year, and 1,055 registered in 2002.

“We’ll be happy with 1,000 or 1,200. That’s a nice, manageable size,” said Hays Latham, the RTH registration coordinator. “I think we’ll be there for sure, because we’ve gotten 80-something (registrations) every day for the last few days.”

Registration forms are available at Battlefield Inn, Wyatt’s Gym, the Purks YMCA, the Vicksburg Convention and Visitors Bureau and The Vicksburg Post. Runners can drop off the forms and the $20 registration fee at Battlefield Inn until 6 p.m. Wednesday. After that, they must wait until 6 p.m. Friday and pay an additional $5 fee. Raceday registration will begin at 7 a.m.

All runners will receive a T-shirt and duffel bag packed with gifts, and those can be picked up between 6 and 8 p.m. Friday at Battlefield Inn, or Saturday morning before the race. Latham urged runners to pick up their race packets on Friday, however.

“If they’re from Vicksburg, they need to get their packet on Friday, not Saturday, because it’s a madhouse Saturday morning,” Latham said.