Reindeer Run organizers overwhelmed by community’s support for Saturday’s event
Cynthia Freeny had no idea what to expect. She, along with the other organizers of the Reindeer Run 5K, was not only concerned about how many runners might take part in the second annual event Saturday but were concerned it might not happen at all.
In a year so disrupted by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Freeny said she was unsure whether people would turn out and if businesses — many hit hard by the pandemic — would be able to support the event that supports Paws Rescue.
Now, just days before the run is set to take place, Freeny’s concerns are more about accommodating all those who have signed up to participate and properly thanking the businesses who have given so much.
The event begins Saturday at 8 a.m. at Catfish Row Art Park on Mulberry Street, across from the entrance to Vicksburg’s riverfront.
“We have received tremendous support from our sponsors. We are hoping to exceed what we gave Paws last year, which was $11,400,” Freeny said. “We have had multiple businesses donate so much to us; many have been given cash while others have given in-kind sponsorships.
“At one point, we were extremely concerned that we were not going to be able to pull this off because of COVID this year,” she added. “We were worried businesses were not going to be able to respond because times have been tough on many of our businesses.”
In addition to the long list of sponsors — from small businesses to large industries — participants have also turned out.
As of Monday, Freeny said 115 people have already registered and more are expected. She said organizers are hoping to reach 150 participants.
“There is not a cap. We will continue to accept people through Saturday,” Freeny said. “Online registration will close Thursday and we will have in-person registration Friday during our packet pick-up. We will also register people Saturday morning before the run.”
To register online, visit raceroster.com/events/2020/35566/reindeer-run-5k. The registration fee is $35.
Due to the pandemic, organizers have taken steps to make the event as safe as possible.
Freeny said the event is chip-timed, meaning it does not matter when you start. Runners will be placed in groups and times will be staggered to allow for better distancing between participants.
This year’s run will begin and end at Catfish Row, and LD’s Kitchen is providing the food for post-race events.
Freeny said the success thus far for the second edition of the event goes back to the group that will receive the proceeds.
“Paws has a fabulous reputation for working hard in our community — both in the city and the county,” Freeny said. “And, I cannot say enough about our businesses and sponsors. They have all come through for us and for Paws.”
In addition to the run, the event will include reindeer games, face painting for children and a Christmas pet parade for the “fur babies.”
The packet pickup will be Friday from 5 to 7 p.m. at LD’s Kitchen, and Saturday from 7:15 a.m. until 7:45 a.m.
Paws Rescue is an all-volunteer 501(c)3 nonprofit no-kill animal rescue group located in Vicksburg. For more information on Paws Rescue, visit pawsrescuepets.org.