38th Annual Run Thru History set for Saturday morning in VNMP

Published 8:08 am Tuesday, February 28, 2017

A year after undergoing a major facelift, the Run Thru History is getting a few cosmetic tweaks but keeping the same festive atmosphere that has made it a Vicksburg institution.

The 38th edition of the Run Thru History is scheduled for Saturday at 8 a.m. in the Vicksburg National Military Park. Among the minor changes and additions this year are a free spaghetti dinner the night before the race, an adjusted finish line, and a little extra incentive for the children participating in the fun run.

Last year marked the first time the Run Thru History had been held entirely within the confines of the VNMP, and the first year for the Hampton Inn across the street from the park to serve as race headquarters, both major changes to the structure of the race.

Email newsletter signup

Sign up for The Vicksburg Post's free newsletters

Check which newsletters you would like to receive
  • Vicksburg News: Sent daily at 5 am
  • Vicksburg Sports: Sent daily at 10 am
  • Vicksburg Living: Sent on 15th of each month

“By and large it went great,” said Phillip Doiron, the Run Thru History race director as well as the executive director of the Vicksburg YMCA that puts on the event. “We like being in the Park. There are a few tweaks we’ve made with the finish line, and Hampton Inn has been a great host for us.”

The adjusted finish line will have better markings and signage for runners and walkers to separate into their proper scoring lanes, Doiron said. In 2016 there was a lot of confusion as the two groups mixed together and weren’t directed the proper way until the final 200 feet or so.

“They came uphill and the finish line was right in their face. We’re going to try to split the runners and walkers into separate lanes earlier in the race,” Doiron said.

Some of the other tweaks will be noticeable during the events surrounding the race. Runners and walkers who have pre-registered can pick up their packets Friday from 5 to 8 p.m. at the Hampton Inn. The first 200 to do so will be invited to eat a free spaghetti dinner.

On Saturday morning, the VNMP will have living history exhibits — actors, guides and park rangers who help demonstrate various things relating to the Siege of Vicksburg — surrounding the race.

The race T-shirts will also pay homage to the VNMP. The Missouri Monument is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year and is featured on the shirts. Doiron said it’s all part of the plan to highlight the Run Thru History’s deep and unique ties to the Park and the famous Civil War battle fought there in 1863.

“We’re trying to deepen our partnership with the Park and to tie in with the events that happened here,” Doiron said. “We’re going to have some living history exhibits where people are moving through the crowd. In our long-range plans you’re going to eventually see some things along the course, whether it’s people in costume or even a skirmish.”

Doiron expects about 800 people to register for the race by the time the cannon fires to start it Saturday morning.

Runners and walkers can register online at runthruhistory.org as late as Friday; in person at the Vicksburg YMCA throughout the week; at the Hampton Inn during the packet pickup period Friday from 5 to 8 p.m.; or in the Vicksburg National Military Park Saturday from 7 to 7:50 a.m.

The registration fee for the 10K run and 5K race walk is $30.

There is no entry fee for the Blue-Gray 1-miler fun run, but there is a big prize awaiting some of the winners. Doiron said the YMCA has sponsored a competition among local elementary schools to see which one can have the most participants. The winning school will receive $200 in physical education equipment.

“We had that competition last year, but there was really nothing behind it. We’re putting a little meat on the bone with that prize,” Doiron said.

The Run Thru History has long been one of the major events not just on Vicksburg’s sports calendar, but its social calendar as well. The race serves as a de facto reunion for a lot of families, and with nearly 1,000 people wandering around the VNMP and then the Hampton Inn for the after-party it doubles as a street festival.

Doiron hopes the RTH can continue to grow, and possibly even become more than that.

“It’s making it a community event, which is why we want to tie it to the Park,” he said. “We want to make it a regional event where people come in and spend the weekend in Vicksburg.”

• The 38th annual Run Thru History, a 10-kilometer run, 5-kilometer race walk and 1-mile fun run in the Vicksburg National Military Park, is scheduled for Saturday at 8 a.m.
• The entry fee is $30 for the 10K and 5K, and the 1-mile fun run is free. The first 800 people registered are guaranteed a race shirt.
• To register online or for more information, visit runthruhistory.org. Registration forms are also available at the Purks YMCA. Online registration is open until Friday.
• Race packet pickup and late registration will be available Friday, from 5 to 8 p.m., and Saturday from 7 to 7:50 a.m. at the Hampton Inn across from the Military Park.
• A free spaghetti dinner will be available for the first 200 people to pick up their race packets on Friday night at the Hampton Inn.

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.

email author More by Ernest