Over the River Run celebrates 30th year Saturday

Published 8:00 am Friday, October 12, 2018

Vicksburg’s most unique running event is turning 30.

The Over the River Run, a 5-mile run and race walk across the Old Mississippi River Bridge, will celebrate its 30th anniversary with Saturday’s race.

It is one of the few times each year when the bridge is open to the public, allowing runners and walkers a chance to compete or simply take a stroll across the Mighty Mississippi to Delta, La., and back to the start-finish line at the Mississippi Welcome Center on Washington Street.

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Besides the odd sensation of running more than 100 feet above one of the world’s biggest rivers, contestants often run side by side with Kansas City Southern trains on the return trip.

The setting, distance and challenge combine to make it one of the more unique and fun events on the calendar, race director Stacey Mahoney said.

“This is such a great event. I think this race is so popular, because while there are many races, this is the only race where you can go across the Old Mississippi River Bridge, go into Louisiana and then come back. It’s beautiful, scenic and very special,” said Mahoney, the executive director of the Southern Cultural Heritage Foundation, which organizes the race. “Right now, we have entries from seven states. I think it is awesome that this race can pull people from all over to Vicksburg.”

Saturday’s race will begin at 8 a.m. at the Mississippi Welcome Center on Washington Street. Raceday registration will be open from 6:30 to 7:30. The entry fee is $35, or $20 for the children’s 1-mile fun run that follows the 5-mile races.

Those who have already registered can pick up their race packets either Saturday morning or Friday from 10 a.m to 6 p.m. at the Southern Cultural Heritage Foundation Auditorium at the corner of Crawford and Cherry Streets. Registration will also be open during that time.

The entry fee includes admission to the postrace party in the Ameristar Delta Point parking lot.

The race is a major fundraiser for the Southern Cultural Heritage Foundation, as well as a Grand Prix event on the Mississippi Track Club’s statewide circuit.

The Southern Cultural Heritage Foundation took control of the event in 2009 and helped grow it into one of the city’s major community events. Participation has declined the past couple of years, but as many as 800 people have turned out in the past decade.

Mahoney said the money raised from the Over the River Run helps maintain the Southern Cultural Heritage Foundation’s facilities on Adams Street. The organization hosts programs throughout the year spotlighting the culture and arts of the south, as well as other community events.

“The Over the River Run is an extremely important fundraiser for the SCHF and a very special community event,” Mahoney said. “After expenses, proceeds from the race will go toward the rehabilitation of the Southern Cultural Heritage Center and the many maintenance issues of the five historic buildings of the Center.”

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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