Wednesday, January 6, 2010
The third annual Mississippi Blues Marathon will start and end at the intersection of Capitol and State streets in downtown Jackson this Saturday, Jan. 9. Event organizer John Sewell said about 2,000 runners from 46 states and four countries are expected to participate in the marathon and half marathon, sponsored by Blue Cross Blue Shield, and kicking off at 7 a.m.
For the first time, all events associated with the marathon will take place within downtown's borders.
"We have changed the course from Fondren to give runners better proximity," he said. "This year, downtown will be the focus for everything. The start and finish lines are within walking distance to hotels."
On Jan. 7 and 8, the pre-race Blues Expo will take place at the Jackson Convention Complex, and will include various vendors and a presentation by motivational speakers Bill Rodgers and Dane Rauschenberg. After the race on Saturday night, the Fondren Trolley will take runners to Underground 119, Martin's and Fire for blues concerts. (Admission fees for the expo and concerts are included in the registration cost.)
Recently, Runner's World magazine recognized the Blues Marathon as having the "best swag" for runners. Sewell said this year's swags will consist of a draw-string bag, harmonica and the soundtrack from the blues documentary "M for Mississippi." More than $30,000 will be given away as prizes to the winners in various categories. Sewell said marathon proceeds will benefit the Mississippi Blues Commission. Last year the commission received $10,000 from the marathon.
"It's our third year for the event, and we are starting to see all the things we always wanted to happen," Sewell said. "We really hope neighborhoods and people come out to cheer on the runners. They really feed off that energy."
For more information about the marathon or to register, visit http://www.msbluesmarathon.com.
It' gonna be cold this weekend and I remember what the commercial said, "You can run it, walk it or just watch it, but you will want to be a part of it." I'll be a part of it while at the house in good heating conditions and watching the football games. Good luck to all the runners and brave souls who do otherwise.