Reindeer Run 5K belongs to the dogs

Published 7:38 pm Saturday, December 2, 2023

Runners and walkers sniffed each other, chased frisbees and left smelling like wet dogs at the Reindeer Run 5K.

A bunch of people had a good time, too.

More than 150 humans and a dozen dogs braved a steady rain Saturday morning to participate in the annual event, which is a fundraiser for Paws Rescue. After the 5-kilometer run and race walk, a pet parade concluded the festivities.

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“You’ve got costumes, you’ve got dogs. Normally you have people cheering you on. This one is a fun run,” said Teresa Schlosser, who won the women’s 5K race walk title with a time of 36 minutes, 36 seconds. “It goes along with the idea of the Reindeer Run. It should be fun, it should be more festive, and it is.”

The Reindeer Run 5K celebrated its fifth year, and has raised more than $120,000 for Paws Rescue — a no-kill animal shelter in Vicksburg — during that time. Race organizers said this year’s edition is expected to bring in more than $30,000 that will fund the organization’s operations in 2024.

The race is a major fundraiser for the organization, but donations are always accepted through Pay Pal at its website, or by mail at P.O. Box 13, Redwood, MS 39156. Donations of pet food are also welcome.

“It helps us continue to rescue and help animals in our community that need to be helped. This event keeps Paws Rescue alive for a year,” Paws Rescue president Leigh Conerly said.


Debbie Haworth, the Reindeer Run’s event coordinator, said that while there is a certainly a competitive side to the run the mood is intended to be festive and light.

A DJ played Christmas carols throughout the morning at Catfish Row Art Park, participants could have their photos taken with Santa, and race sponsors set up tents with free swag for pooches and people. Chew toys and treats were handed out alongside drink coozies and coffee mugs.

“We want it to be fun. We had serious runners, and we’re glad they come and support us. It means a lot,” Haworth said. “It’s about the dogs, it’s about having fun and raising money for Paws. They have such a great reputation around town that it’s not hard to raise money for Paws Rescue.”

Evelyn Notestine, a 13-year-old from Madison, won the overall 5K run championship with a time of 20:31. She was more than two minutes ahead of runner-up Tim Cutler, who took the men’s title in 22:39.

“It was a last-minute decision and it’s really fun to race,” said Notestine, who runs for Germantown Junior High’s cross country team.

Cutler finished just ahead of a group of six runners who finished with times between 23:10 and 24:01. Brayden Graves led that pack, and placed third overall, while Asher Rice was just a few steps behind in 23:12.

Cutler said he was battling a calf cramp for much of the race and was happy to win the men’s championship.

“I had a really bad calf cramp going all the way up the hill. I would’ve like to have done it probably a minute and a half faster, but I’m just happy I was able to finish,” Cutler said. “I would like to run a faster time, but I’ll take a win any day.”

Ron Roma led the field in the race walk, with a winning time of 32:23. Steve Pranger was second in 35:28, Lee Fore third in 36:22, and Schlosser fourth overall in 36:36.

Terrie Foster was second in the women’s division and fifth overall in 37:12.

“It was kind of what I was looking for because I’m just getting back into shape. I was hoping to get about 12 (minute miles) and I got about 11:40s, so I was pretty happy with it — especially with as wet as the course is today,” Schlosser said.

Jax Davidson, a young doberman, was the winner in the canine division. He clocked a time of 23:52.

Davidson politely declined to comment on his victory, but his human Peyton Davidson — who placed sixth overall — spoke on his behalf and said they both had fun.

“This breed is an amazing breed and loves to run. He will never have to hold me back, he’ll only push me more forward, and he’s a great dog,” Peyton Davidson said. “I love running with him. He just brings positivity to the run. You have something to look at while you run.”


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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