Over the River Run kicks off Vicksburg’s fall running season

Published 11:39 am Thursday, October 7, 2021

Vicksburg’s fall running season is on its mark and set. It goes on Saturday morning.

The 33rd annual Over the River Run, a 5-mile run and race walk across the Old Mississippi River Bridge, will take place at 8 a.m. Saturday. It’s the beginning of a stretch of three running events in Vicksburg in a four-week span, with ERDC’s Mad Scientist 5K following on Oct. 23 and Vicksburg Catholic Schools’ Spooky Sprint 5K on Oct. 30.

“It’s like bam-bam-bam,” laughed Stacey Mahoney, the director of the Southern Cultural Heritage Foundation. The Over the River Run is a fundraiser for her organization, and is also a Mississippi Track Club grand prix event.

“We’re helping promote all of the runs in our race bag,” Mahoney continued. “We’re excited about all of the races and want to help all of them in our community. We’re excited to kick that off. We do feel ours is special, going across the bridge, and it is a competitive run. This one has it all.”

The Over the River Run is first up in the order, and is the biggest and oldest of the three races. It begins at the Mississippi Welcome Center on Washington Street and follows a 5-mile course across the Old Mississippi River Bridge, into Delta, La., and back.

The rare opportunity to go on the bridge and look down on the Mississippi River is the race’s biggest drawing card, and one Mahoney said works well.

“It’s beautiful. We pull people from at least 11 different states. That’s been the lower number the past couple of years. We’ve had more than that,” Mahoney said. “Some aren’t from Vicksburg, they just hear about the race and want to come to it. And then some grew up around here, knew about the race and moved off, but want to come back for it. Whether it pulls people because they’re from here or just pulls them because of the river, it’s a cool thing. We’re glad to be a part of that.”

Mahoney said approximately 300 people had signed up for the Over the River Run as of Wednesday evening, and with good weather forecast for Saturday morning was hoping to greatly increase the number.

Online registration is available through raceroster.com until 5 p.m. Friday. In-person registration and packet pick-up are available at the SCHF’s auditorium on Crawford Street all day Friday, and race day registration is open from 6:30 to 7:30 a.m. at the Mississippi Welcome Center. The race begins at 8.

The registration fee is $35 for the 5-mile run and walk, and $20 for the children’s 1-mile fun run that will follow the other two events. The fee includes race entry, a goody bag, and admission to the race’s after party.

The party will return after a one-year absence because of last year’s COVID-19 pandemic.

“We had a great response from our participants thanking us for doing the race (in 2020), because it was one of the first ones. Everything went well, we kept everything low key. We didn’t do an after-party,” Mahoney said. “So this year the after-party is back and we’re excited about that. It’ll be more like normal — music, beer and pizza, and all that stuff. It’s our back to normal.”

Two weeks after the Over the River Run, Vicksburg’s fall running season continues with the Mad Scientist 5K at the U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center.

The Mad Scientist 5K is in its fourth year — it was not held in 2020 because of the pandemic — and offers participants the chance to see the ERDC campus as the course winds around its streets and buildings.
Proceeds from the race benefit scholarships given to local high-school seniors by the ERDC Alumni Association.

Online registration is available through raceroster.com. The entry fee before Oct. 15 is $25 for the 5K and $10 for the 1-mile fun run. Both entry fees increase by $5 after that date.

The race is scheduled to begin at 8 a.m. on Oct. 23.

“The race began in 2017 to give the public a chance to come see where our scientists and engineers do their research, and since then, it’s been a great success,” ERDC commander Col. Teresa Schlosser said in a statement. “Not only is it a fun, family-friendly event, it’s a way to give back and encourage students who are interested in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) careers.”

The third October race is the Spooky Sprint 5K, a lighthearted romp through downtown Vicksburg on Oct. 30. The race begins at 8 a.m. at BancorpSouth, 820 South Street.

Now in its seventh year, the Spooky Sprint is a fundraiser for Vicksburg Catholic Schools and has a Halloween theme. Participants are encouraged to wear costumes, and many do.

The registration fee is $35 for the 5K run and walk, and $20 for the 1-mile fun run. Online registration is available at vicksburgcatholicschool.redpodium.com/2021-spooky-sprint.

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 sports reporters in the paper's 137-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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