Fun run puts finishing touch on downtown race

Published 12:15 am Sunday, January 18, 2015

TOGETHER: Elaina Bailey, left, holds hands with her 4-year-old sister Samantha Bailey during the Chill in the Hills 1-mile fun run on Saturday.

TOGETHER: Elaina Bailey, left, holds hands with her 4-year-old sister Samantha Bailey during the Chill in the Hills 1-mile fun run on Saturday.

A little over an hour after the adults embarked on a 10-kilometer odyssey through the streets of Vicksburg on Saturday, the next wave of runners lined up for their turn.
Their path wasn’t as long. It wasn’t as grueling. And it certainly wasn’t as serious, even if it was hard to tell that as they leaned toward the starting line waiting for the gun to go off and send them on their way.
Thirty-two children and adults sprinted at the sound to begin the Chill in the Hills 1-mile fun run. It’s a traditional capper for Mississippi Track Club races that gives kids the opportunity to compete in a shorter race — or for their parents to introduce them to running.
“We just wanted to have a good father-daughter fun time,” said Jay Hobson, who was running with his 6-year-old daughter Mallory and 7-year-old son Clark. “She wanted to see if she could do it, and she did it.”
Mallory didn’t seem to grasp the “fun” part of “fun run,” though. She cried as she approached the finish line holding the hand of her teacher Mindy Giambrone, and afterward as she hugged her mother Sally.
A few moments later, however, Mallory’s eyes finally brightened when she was reminded she’d get a trophy to go with the one she received last year at the Run Thru History.
“I won a trophy last year too,” she said with a slight smile.
The pain and joy of running was just as obvious among another fun run participant, 11-year-old Brelynn Beck. She was competing for the first time … and the last time … until maybe the next time.
“That was my first time to run a race. I’m never going to do it again,” Beck said as a group of her friends chuckled, leading her to add, “I might do it one more time, but that’s it.”
Not everyone was as down on the experience as those two. Madelyn Roesch, Madi Mathews, Cati Mathews and Falyn Lusby were all excited about their times as they chatted in a group after the race.
“It was fun,” Madi Mathews said.
“My dad is a runner. I like to run,” a smiling Roesch chimed in.
That was the consensus among the participants and their families. One of the biggest at the Chill in the Hills, the Perez family of Monroe, said it was even a selling point for them to make the trip to Mississippi. Parents Robert and Shauna Perez have six children, five of whom were at Saturday’s race.
Shauna Perez won the women’s masters title in the 10K run, 16-year-old daughter Marissa was second in the women’s division in the 10K, 14-year-old son Josiah was third in the men’s division of the 10K, and 10-year-old son Isaac finished second in the 1-miler. Daughter Seriah, 8, and son Eliyah, 6, also participated in the 1-miler.
“Some races in other states, the fun run is a lap around the parking lot. What’s the point of that? This is nice to have a race like that at all of these Track Club races,” Shauna Perez said. “Even though we’re in Monroe, we’ll come to these races in Mississippi because of that.”
All of the children who ran Saturday received medals, and the winners got a chili bowl trophy just like the ones awarded in the 10K run and 5K race walk. Jake Brister won the overall title, while Gloria Hall was the girls’ winner.

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About Ernest Bowker

Ernest Bowker is The Vicksburg Post's sports editor. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post's sports staff since 1998, making him one of the longest-tenured reporters in the paper's 140-year history. The New Jersey native is a graduate of LSU. In his career, he has won more than 50 awards from the Mississippi Press Association and Associated Press for his coverage of local sports in Vicksburg.

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