Sports column: October is running season in Vicksburg

Published 8:00 am Sunday, October 2, 2022

As a nation, there are certain traditions we Americans have developed to indicate the arrival of fall.

Football games on the weekend. Bagging leaves before cutting the grass for the final time. Pumpkin spice everywhere.

Vicksburg has one more local tradition to add to the list — running season.

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Three of the city’s eight or so 5K and 10K events are in October. The run of running events starts next weekend with the 34th Annual Over the River Run, continues Oct. 22 with ERDC’s Mad Scientist 5K, and wraps up with Vicksburg Catholic School’s Spooky Sprint 5K on Oct. 29. All three races begin at 8 a.m. sharp.

The races all boil down to putting one foot in front of the other as quickly as possible for trophies, glory and personal achievement, but they offer so much more. All three provide unique experiences that everyone can enjoy, as well as showing off different parts of our community and city.

The Over the River Run, scheduled for Oct. 8, is Vicksburg’s second-oldest race. The 5-mile run and race walk takes participants across the Old Mississippi River Bridge. Amid regular efforts to open the bridge to pedestrian traffic, it’s a rare opportunity to enjoy a stroll on it. Even if you aren’t fast or trying to win, it’s neat to take your time and look down on the water a hundred or so feet below you.

And how often can you say you walked to Louisiana and back and got home in time to watch football in the afternoon?

Entry forms and complete details are available at southernculture.org.

The Mad Scientist 5K doubles as an open house for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Engineer Research and Development Center. It allows the community to come onto the ERDC campus, visit its headquarters, and get an idea of what this integral part of Vicksburg’s industry is all about.

Allowing some buttoned-up engineers to let their hair down for a few hours is probably a good thing as well.
The registration fee is $25 for the 5K and $10 for the fun run, and is available online through raceroster.com.

The Spooky Sprint 5K is a fun wrap-up to the October season. It has a Halloween theme, a Halloween carnival, and runners and walkers are encouraged to run in Halloween costumes.

It’s a good thing it takes place on Halloween weekend. It’d be weird to have that theme in June.

The registration fee is $25 for the 5K run and walk, or $10 for the fun run. Online registration and more information is available at vicksburgcatholicschool.redpodium.com/2022-spooky-sprint.

Besides being a fun time for residents, the running events all benefit good causes.

The Over the River Run is a fundraiser for the Southern Cultural Heritage Foundation and helps fund its programs throughout the year. The proceeds from the Mad Scientist 5K go into a scholarship fund, and the Spooky Sprint 5K is a fundraiser Vicksburg Catholic School.

So whether you’re competing to win, running for exercise, or just want to have a fun morning stroll and meet some friends — or strangers — you should consider getting up early on Saturday mornings this month. You don’t have to be fast to have fun. You just have to show up.

Just make sure you don’t get confused on which race is which weekend. It’d be weird to try running across the Old Mississippi River Bridge while dressed up in a mad scientist Halloween costume.

Ernest Bowker is the sports editor of The Vicksburg Post. He can be reached at ernest.bowker@vicksburgpost.com

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 139-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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