Junior Auxiliary of Vicksburg to host Laces For Love run in February

Published 4:00 am Wednesday, December 27, 2023

A new event will kick off Vicksburg’s running calendar in 2024.

Laces For Love will cross the starting line for the first time on Saturday, Feb. 10. It will feature 5- and 10-kilometer runs, a 5-kilometer race walk, and a 1-mile children’s fun run that winds through a course in downtown Vicksburg.

In addition to being a fun time, it will serve as a fundraiser for the Junior Auxiliary of Vicksburg. The organization has a number of community service projects throughout the year, and events such as Laces For Love and its golf tournament in March keep them operating.

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“We have the golf tournament, and that’s a big fundraiser, but that’s a specific subset of people. We were sitting around thinking, ‘What’s a new fundraiser we could do?’” race chairman Johnna Riddick said. “We knew there were a lot of runs locally and saw them being successful, and decided let’s go for it.”

A service project will accompany the race as well. Donations of new or gently-used shoes that will go to needy families in Warren County will be accepted.

“We’ll have bins to collect them all in,” Riddick said.

Riddick said Laces For Love was designed to draw in as many runners and walkers as possible by providing a variety of options. In addition to the more challenging 10-kilometer run, a 5-kilometer option is available.

There is also a 5K race walk and 1-mile children’s fun run. The start-finish line will be in the 1300 block of Washington Street and the course will flow south toward Belmont Street and Glenwood Circle.

An after-party will be held at the parking lot adjacent to Key City Brewery.

“On the 10K there is only a run option, but the 5K has a run and walk. Our goal is to help the children and we want them involved,” Riddick said. “We have so many families that want to be a part of whatever we’re doing. Let’s make it to where anybody can come and enjoy it.”

Riddick added that Laces For Love will try to tie into other events. Vicksburg’s Mardi Gras parade is later in the day on Feb. 10, and she’s hoping both events and the downtown area in general benefit from it.

“It’s going to be super fun,” Riddick said. “We have food afterward for the runners and walkers, and after that it’s the Mardi Gras parade. Hopefully some of them will hang around downtown and some of those businesses can benefit, too.”

Laces For Love will also serve as the unofficial start of Vicksburg’s 2024 running season. It will be the first of at least seven 5K or 10K runs scattered throughout the year. The Run Thru History in March and Chillin’ in the Hills in May are next on the schedule.

“Let’s kick off the year,” Riddick said.

• The inaugural Laces for Love run is scheduled for Feb. 10 at 8 a.m. in downtown Vicksburg. The event will include 5K and 10K runs, a 5-kilometer race walk, and a 1-mile children’s fun run.
• The race will start and end in the 1300 block of Washington Street, and follow a course through the downtown area. An after-party will follow in the parking lot adjacent to the start-finish line.
• The registration fee is $30 for the 5K events, $35 for the 10K run, or $15 for the fun run. After Jan. 1, the registration fees increase by $5 each. Online registration is available through raceroster.com.
• For more information, email race chairman Johnna Riddick at johnnacriddick@gmail.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 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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