619 signed up for Saturday’s Run Thru History|[03/01/07]

Published 12:00 am Thursday, March 1, 2007

The run-up to one of Vicksburg’s biggest annual events started Wednesday with a muted celebration as about two dozen volunteers for the Run Thru History gathered at Battlefield Inn to go over last-minute plans.

The 28th annual Run Thru History will start Saturday morning at 8:30 at the Vicksburg Military Park’s Memorial Arch. The course for the 10-kilometer run and 5-kilometer walk winds through the park and ends in front of Battlefield Inn.

As of Wednesday night, 619 people had registered for the run, walk and 1-mile fun run. That’s five fewer than at the same time last year and right on pace for the race’s traditional average of 700 to 800 people, registration director Hays Latham said.

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Late registration will be open from 5 until 8 p.m. Friday, and then again from 7 until 8 a.m. Saturday at Battlefield Inn.

&#8220We’re happy,” Latham said. &#8220Last year was 750 or 800 people, so we expect that. That’s a very manageable crowd.”

In the past, Wednesday’s get-together served as an unofficial kickoff of the RTH festivities. More than 50 volunteers would show up to stuff giveaways into runners’ race packets and go over details. In recent years, however, fewer goodies have needed to be pre-packed and the number of people at Wednesday’s meeting has dwindled.

&#8220I enjoyed that. Everybody could get together and talk about the race. I wish we could do that again,” said Vicksburg resident Debbie Cheney, a four-time winner of the 5K walk who was also a regular at the packet stuffing.

There are fewer details to decide, however, as most race organizers are long-time volunteers and much of the prep work is &#8220automatic.”

Latham said the packet stuffing simply wasn’t necessary anymore. Instead of smaller gifts like cups and key chains, Latham said organizers asked race sponsors to donate money.

Race participants still receive T-shirts, socks and some smaller gifts in their packets. That’s more than many Mississippi Track Club events hand out, but not enough to require a special night of stuffing things into 800 plastic gift bags.

The Vicksburg run is usually the largest event the state organization sanctions.

The RTH committee gives out special gifts and trophies for signal anniversary races – the next of which will be in 2009.

&#8220We’re right now in the process of getting ready for the 30th annual. So we’re still giving socks and T-shirts, and getting ready for that,” Latham said.


Saturday, 8:30 a.m., Vicksburg Military Park; registration fee is $27; late registration will be from 5 until 8 p.m. Friday and from 7 until 8 a.m. Saturday at Battlefield Inn.