River City Run set for today

Published 1:47 pm Saturday, February 24, 2007

It’s time to put your walking or running shoes on as the 29th annual Natchez Junior Auxiliary River City Classic Run for the Kids takes place this morning in Downtown Natchez.

Just like its first 28 years, the River City Classic will take place on the last Saturday in February. The Natchez Junior Auxiliary had its “Run for the Kids” in April until it was moved to November a few years ago.

This year, the Natchez Junior Auxiliary decided to combine its “Run for the Kids” with the River City Classic to be called the River City Classic Run for the Kids.

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Perhaps the most significant change to this year’s event is the location.

For the first time in a long time, the River City Classic Run for the Kids will not take place near the corner of Main and Broadway streets near the bluffs. Instead, the start/finish line will be at Memorial Park on Main Street.

“It (River City Classic) was there years ago,” race chairman Cara Moody said. “The River City Classic was handed over to myself at JA. Memorial Park has been where the Run for the Kids has always been.

Registration begins at 7:30 a.m. The 10K run starts at 8:30 a.m. while the 5K run will begin about a minute later to let the runners get a good start. The one-mile fun run (kids 12 and under) will start at approximately 9:30 a.m.

“We’re up to 150 kids. This is the most kids the River City Classic and the JA has ever had,” Moody said. “They’re doing this through their schools. Whichever school has the most participants gets a $250 check to go to their physical education department.

And with the change in location, the course itself will not have so many hills to run and walk on. And that will be a pleasant change of pace, especially for the 10K runners. The event is directed by the Mississippi Track Club.

“We go down Main Street to Broadway and up State Street. Take a right on MLK and left on Homochitto and take a left on Auburn all the way to Quitman. Take a right on Quitman. Take a right on Melrose go on Melrose to the railroad tracks. Take a u-turn at the railroad tracks and then take a left on Quitman, which turns into Main Street.”

The River City Classic Run for the Kids will consist of a 10K run (6.2 miles), a 5K walk (3.1 miles) and a one-mile fun run. The age groups for the 10K run will range from 14 and under to 60 and over; for the 5K walk, 19 and under to 70 and over; and the one-mile fun run, 0-5, 6-7, 8-9 and 10-12.

Awards will be given for the overall male and female winners in each event as well as for Master (40-49), Grand Master (50-59), and Senior Master (60 and over) in the 10K run and 5K walk.

Awards will also be given to the top three finishers in each standard five-year age group in those two events and the top three in each age group in the one-mile fun run. Ribbons will also be given to each participant in the one-mile fun run.

“We have 30 5K walkers so far and 75 10 K runners so far. We have 20 that will walk up tomorrow to run,” Moody said. “We already have plenty of people involved. We have out-of-town people and in-town people. That’s why we have a big turnout. It’s all about the kids.”

And if the awards weren’t enough, there will be the JA’s annual Shrimp Boil that will start at 11 a.m. at the Main Street Marketplace.