March 25, 2009
At 8 a.m. April 4, the streets of Columbus will be filled with runners on a 6-mile course that will take them past the many faces of the city.
To promote tourism in the city, the Columbus Convention and Visitors Bureau decided to sponsor a race in the middle of Pilgrimage, the annual tour of the antebellum homes in Columbus.
The race is used to promote tourism in Columbus. The event, which starts and ends at the Tennessee Williams Welcome Center, shows off the Mississippi University for Women, the city''s antebellum homes, and the river walk.
Race director O.K. Bryant has been working with the race since it began. He feels it increases the city''s name recognition to those outside the area and makes Pilgrimage bigger, attracting more tourist to the area. Since the beginning the race has averaged a little more than 100 runners each year.
Bryant hopes for the same number of runners this year as in previous years.
"We have had some great runners," Bryant said. "We''ve had runners that come from the Air Force base, and are top runners in the country. One of our oldest runners is 75 years old and can run 100-mile races. Because we''ve had some really good runners makes the event exciting."
Awards will be given to first-, second- and third-place finishers in each age group. There were many winners in each age group, but the overall winners last year were Jake Johnson and Allison Flaherty.
Bryant said runners ages 30-40 are the most common participants in the race.
The event is the only 10K race in the Golden Triangle Area.
Runners can sign up until the day of the race, by mailing in an entry form (form can be downloaded from runcyclegtr.org) to GTRCC P.O. Box 702 Columbus, MS 39703-702, or by going online to www.active.com.
Fees are $17 before March 28 and $20 the day of the race.