If you are looking for a challenging 10k course and just so happen to be somewhat of a history buff, this race is for you! It is a beautiful course run entirely within the Vicksburg National Military Park which commemorates one of the most decisive battles of the American Civil War. It is filled with civil war cannons, fortifications, trenches, monuments, statues and plaques echoing the stories of the thousands of Confederate and Union soldiers who fought and died on these battlefields. The beauty of the park will inspire you while it’s considerably dramatic hills will humble even the strongest of runners. This is a “no frills” race in that you will receive no fancy finisher’s medal and there is only minimal post race food. However, in addition to a little history lesson and the incredible sense of accomplishment you gain from conquering the hills….
This is what you will get for your mere $25 registration fee…
~Pasta dinner the evening before race day
~Long sleeve race shirt
~Firing of a cannon to start the race
~Live music provided by “The Chill” and Free Beer! Bring your chairs and plan to stay for a while …the music is superb and the dance floor is always open.
~Pretty cool Age Group awards (if you’re lucky enough to beat the locals …remember, they run these hills every day!)
~Photo Ops with General Grant, Jefferson Davis and wives
Just a few of the incredible sites you will see along the course…
This was the 38th annual running of this race and there were approximately 750 participants which makes for a good crowd without having to spend the first mile weaving in and out of slower runners.It’s an easy 45 minute drive from where we live and the post race music is worth every penny of $25 and every hill that must be climbed to cross that finish line. We met up with a few friends from Meridian and I usually always run into at least one old high school friend or relative. We had a great time!
Obviously, this race is more about history and tradition than expos and bling. Having been born and raised in Vicksburg, while I’ve spent many an afternoon climbing on those cannons and rolling down hills while my parents took in the history of the park, I’m sad to say that this was only the third time I’ve actually participated in this race.
This year, while running this race, I happened to strike up a conversation with a gentleman early in the first mile. He asked if I was familiar with the course and was curious about how hilly it was going to be. Just as I finished giving him the run down, we approached and began the ascent of the first major hill. We both quit talking and went to work. He pulled ahead of me just a little but I kept him in sight. It wasn’t until mile four that I rounded a corner and passed him as he stopped to take a picture. He caught up with me again and we began chatting. He told me that he was from Minnesota and I responded “surely you didn’t come all the way down here just to run this race?” He said no but that he did come ‘all the way down here’ just to visit this park and my hometown. I have to tell you that I was still somewhat surprised by even that.
When you grow up in a small southern town on the banks of the Mississippi River, all you can think about is growing up and moving on to a bigger city. Sure, I’ve always known about the rich history and charm of my hometown and certainly was aware of all the tourists in and out of the park and those coming in from the Riverboats but always figured they were all coming from neighboring states…certainly never gave much thought to the fact that folks from as far away as Minnesota would actually make my quaint little hometown of Vicksburg their vacation destination.
He and I chatted about history, running and other races each of us have run. The last two hilly miles went by much quicker with this stranger from Minnesota by my side. We crossed the finish line, shook hands and parted ways. The more I thought about our conversation, the more it occurred to me that not only did this man push me up that last hill to a strong finish, but he also sparked a new appreciation and deeper love in me for my beautiful hometown ….Vicksburg, the city on a bluff.
Have you ever been to Vicksburg? Or maybe I should ask if you’ve ever heard of Vicksburg? Anyone out there ever run this race?
I’m linking up with Marcia, Erika and Patty for Tuesdays on the Run where this week the topic is all about how we runners come up with out race schedules. I’m obviously not a “serious” runner because I don’t ever plan a “race calendar”. I just fly by the seat of my pants! It all depends on if I’m injured, recovering from an injury or just trying not to get injured. I always try to do at least one race per month of any distance. That’s it. Our weekends can be pretty hectic so I usually don’t plan too far out. However, the exception to that is this little blogger meet-up that I’ve signed up for in Utah!! Yes, I will be there and I’m super excited about it! Do visit these ladies’ blogs and others to see what exciting races they have on their schedules!