Published 8:41 pm Saturday, October 22, 2016
Walking along the sidewalk in front of BancorpSouth on South Street as runners gathered for the second Spooky Sprint, Ann Roberson cast a rather imposing figure as Maleficent, the villain in the story of Sleeping Beauty.
“I’m one of the race directors, and I thought this would be the best way for the runners to see me,” she said.
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A total of 582 walkers and runners took part in the second annual 5K run/walk and 1-mile fun run to benefit Vicksburg Catholic School.
The participants ignored the 40-degree temperature at the start of the race to take advantage of the sunny Saturday morning — a big change from the inaugural event in 2015, which took place during a rainstorm. Some ran in costume, while others selected more tradition running and walking attire.
“This is our second year,” said Shellie Matthews, who with Lucy Hunt was dressed as a cat.
“We didn’t dress up much because of the rain,” Hunt said. “This year, we decided to come as kitty cats.”
Not far away, Melanie Coutch and her daughter, Scarlett, prepared for their first race dressed as unicorns.
“We didn’t get to participate last year because we had a soccer tournament,” Blanche said. “We’ve got a soccer game right after this.”
“Last year, it was soggy,” said Cathy Blanche, who was dressed as Elastigirl, one of the Incredibles. “This year is better.”
Another pair of first-timers were sisters and Vicksburg High School students Catherine and Christine Figueroa, dressed as Wonder Woman and Bat Girl, respectively.
“It’s a chance to run in costume,” Christine said.
“And to benefit the school,” her sister added.
Helping the schools was the reason Cari Landers and Chrissy Felt were participating, dressed in yellow and sporting purple-tinted hair.
“Our children go to school there,” Cari said.
“We went to school there, too,” said Laure Leigh Dorman, a friend who was helping with the race.
Merry McKeown was making participation in the event a family affair, with her parents, Ernie and Mercy Andone, and her two children, Ally, who was riding in a carrier on her back, and Bella, who was in a stroller.
“My parents are from Augusta, Ga., and they’re visiting,” she said. “I thought I’d drag them over here.”
“The weather cooperated this year,” Roberson said. “And our number of participants has grown.”
Mindy Giambrone, Roberson’s co-race director, said the turnout is an indication the event is beginning to grow.
“Our (post race) festival has grown from last year and it will continue to grow,” Giambrone said. “We’re looking forward to the race getting better each year,” she said, adding the 2017 race will be a Mississippi Track Club sponsored race.