Chill in the Hills has new course

Published 12:00 am Thursday, January 14, 2010

The Chill in the Hills is getting a little warmer

The 10K run and 5K race walk through downtown Vicksburg return for a second installment Saturday morning with a new starting point and a new course. The race will begin and end at the Vicksburg Convention Center on Mulberry Street and follow a fairly rectangular route along Washington, First East, Cherry, Monroe and South streets.

Click here for course map, registration form

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Last year’s race began on Levee Street, in the Horizon Casino parking lot, but race director Dustin Blount said the traffic in that area caused problems for runners.

“The course is pretty much the same. The big difference is we’re starting at the Convention Center and cutting out Levee. We had some traffic issues down there last year,” said Blount, also the program director at the Vicksburg YMCA, which organizes the race. “Trains and 18-wheelers made the finish line area a little chaotic. Plus, with getting people inside and warm it’s going to make it a more popular race.”

The race will end outside the Convention Center, but there will be a post-race reception inside. Blount hopes that will help negate a rainy forecast for Saturday and increase race day registrations. He said about 200 people had signed up before last week’s deadline for early registration and anticipated the final number of participants to be around 300. That would be close to last year’s total of 321.

Runners and walkers can sign up at the Purks YMCA on Clay Street until 8:30 p.m. Friday, at the Convention Center during packet pickup from 5 to 8 p.m. on Friday or before the race on Saturday morning. The registration fee is $25 for the run and racewalk, and $15 for the 1-mile fun run that follows the bigger events.

The 10K run begins at 8:30 a.m.

“Hopefully we’ll have around 300. Last year we had 288 registered, so the goal is to get over 300,” Blount said.

The Chill in the Hills is the smallest of Vicksburg’s three major road races each year. The Run Thru History usually draws about 900 runners and walkers in March, while October’s Over the River Run pulls in about 500. The YMCA is taking over management of the Run Thru History this spring, but Blount said there are no plans to end the Chill in the Hills Run. Its setting and smaller stature have carved out a niche in the state’s running schedule, Blount said.

“I think we’ll keep doing it. It’ll always be the smaller race in Vicksburg, but people seem to like it,” Blount said.


Contact Ernest Bowker at