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Smith runs for Natchez Children’s Home

NATCHEZ — His legs felt like Jell-O, and he lost his balance several times after it was over, but for Natchez resident Victor Smith, the feeling was worth it.

Smith ran from Fat Mama’s Tamales in Natchez to Performance Dodge Chrysler Jeep Ram in Ferriday as part of a fundraiser for the Natchez Children’s Home. The journey took him over the Mississippi River Bridge, and Smith said he hardly has feeling in his legs after going the distance.

“I don’t feel tired, I just feel off-centered,” Smith said.

But Smith described the run as “phenomenal” and said it was a blessing to take part in helping raise money for the children’s home, since he grew up in a children’s home himself. He also said the atmosphere of the run was something he enjoyed, especially when it came to running across the bridge.

“It was phenomenal to run across the bridge, looking at the water and having people taking pictures and looking out the window and yelling, ‘What are y’all doing this for?’,” Smith said.

“We raised about $180 on the spot, and people have been saying they’ll mail in money. I feel it was a success, just to take something that was a dream and turn it into a reality. I feel blessed.”

Smith anticipated before the run that the bridge would prove to be the biggest physical obstacle to overcome. And the bridge didn’t disappoint, he said.

“It was actually more of a gravity thing, running down the bridge,” Smith said. “It was pushing me down, where you couldn’t jog or walk — it was a straight run. The minute you hit down by The Sandbar (restaurant), it was a continuation, a straight go.”

After departing Fat Mama’s at 9:15 a.m., Smith said he stayed running all the way to Dodge’s Chicken before slowing down for a walk after passing Dodge’s. He arrived at Performance Dodge at 11:25 a.m.

“They said it was a great time,” Smith said.

Smith said he was able to get a Natchez Police Department escort at the last minute, and several friends ran with him. He also said his friend Johnny Mayberry drove a truck alongside Smith to throw water to him when he needed it.

“Every time I waived my hand, he threw a bottle, and I took a few swigs and threw it back,” Smith said. “I never stopped once to drink.”

But when he finally arrived at the end, Smith said he was drenched in sweat.

“It looked like someone hit me with a bucket of water,” Smith said. “It wasn’t scorching, but it was hot.”

Though he enjoyed the experience and was happy to make his dream a reality, Smith said he would need to see more money raised for charity in the future before he decided to run again.

“The community has to step up and show some love and sponsorships,” Smith said. “There wasn’t a lot, but the people who did (sponsor me) were great. My thing was to set the goal, and I did my part and did exactly what I said.

“If anyone in the future wants to pick it up and make it an annual thing, I would love to do it, but it has to be a situation to where it’s beneficial.”