The Run thru History celebrates 45 years as a Vicksburg institution

Published 4:00 am Saturday, February 24, 2024

From muskets to markers, and cannons to concerts, the Run Thru History is more than just a run. It’s a unique Vicksburg experience.

And it’s time to do it again.

The 45th annual Run Thru History is scheduled for Saturday, March 2 in the Vicksburg National Military Park. The 10-kilometer run, 5-kilometer race walk and children’s 1-mile run take participants on a journey through the park and it is approaching half a century as one of the city’s signature events.

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“It’s one of the longest-running races in the state,” said Phillip Doiron, the executive director of the Vicksburg YMCA, which organizes the race. “It’s an institution now. It’s almost a rite of spring. When I think of spring starting in Vicksburg I think of the Run Thru History. It’s a great way to get outdoors. It kicks off that ‘Let’s get outside and do something healthy’ time of year.”

Since the Vicksburg YMCA took over as the operator of the race in 2010 it has made an effort to better incorporate the “history” part of its title by forming a closer partnership with the Vicksburg National Military Park.
On the day of the run, the VNMP will host a series of living history displays. At the start of the event, runners and walkers will begin not with the sound a pistol shot or buzzer, but a musket volley from a group of historical re-enactors.

On Friday, during the race’s packet pick-up period, VNMP tour guides will conduct presentations highlighting historical points of interest along the course.

The packet pick-up will be from 4-7 p.m. on Friday, March 1 at the Hampton Inn at 3330 Clay St., located across the street from the VNMP entrance. A free spaghetti dinner will also be served for registered runners and walkers during that time.

“It serves both parties. In 2024 a 10K race is not the anomaly it was years ago. To set our race apart we had to say, ‘Look at what we offer,’” Doiron said. “For the Park it brings in people and their families that maybe wouldn’t experience it otherwise, and maybe they’ll come back again.”

The race’s T-shirts this year will incorporate the 1899 U.S. War Department seal, which was the governmental agency that created the park on Feb. 21 of that year. The VNMP celebrated its 125th anniversary this week.

Doiron added that the historical tie-ins are a way to pay respect to the events that happened in Vicksburg during the siege in the spring of 1863.

“One of our biggest goals is saying this is a pretty place to run, but there are some major historical events that happened on hallowed ground here,” Doiron said.

The Run Thru History is famous not just for its history, though. Its after-party is almost as well-known for its good times, and will be held again following the race.

Hot dogs, beverages and bananas are on the menu, the Vicksburg-based band The Chill will play as always, and the race awards will be presented.

“We’ll have the world-famous Run Thru History hot dogs,” Doiron said with a laugh. “We’ve got some beverages that will rehydrate you and some not so much.”

Online registration for the 45th annual Run Thru History is open through and until 7 p.m. on March 1.

Runners and walkers can also sign up in person this week at the Vicksburg YMCA, at 267 YMCA Place; during the packet pick-up from 4 to 7 p.m. on March 1 at the Hampton Inn, 3330 Clay St.; or before the race near the start-finish line in the VNMP from 7 to 7:45 a.m. on March 2. The race begins at 8 a.m.

The registration fee is $30 for the 10K run and 5K race walk before Feb. 26, and $35 after that date. The 1-miler is free, but limited to children 12 and under.

Doiron encouraged Vicksburg residents to join the party whether they run, walk, or just hang around.

“You’re going through an experience,” he said, “not just running a 10K.”

• Saturday, March 2, at 8 a.m.
• Registration fee: $30 before Feb. 26, and $35 after Feb. 26 or on race day. Registration is available online through or in person at the Vicksburg YMCA.
• The Run Thru History is a 10K run, 5K race walk, and 1-mile children’s fun run in the Vicksburg National Military Park. The event includes living history demonstrations by VNMP staff and an after-party and awards ceremony with food, drinks, and music by Vicksburg band The Chill.

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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