Watermelon Classic Turns 20 Years Old

The Farm Bureau Watermelon Classic has become a Fourth of July tradition. For the last 20 years, Jacksonians have spent their mornings running the 5-kilometer (3.1-mile) race before setting off fireworks and lighting the grill.

There have been as many as 1,800 runners in past events, and this year, race officials expect 1,500 runners to take part in the fundraiser for the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame and Museum.

While the 5K run is the main event this Independence Day, participants can also walk the 5K or enjoy a one-mile fitness/fun run for all ages or the Tot Trot for children under 3 years of age.

Registration for the event is now open, and there is a week to register before the prices go up on June 30. Currently, the cost is $25 to run or walk in the 5K race, and the mile run is $15.

After June 29, the price for the 5K run/walk goes up to $30, and the mile run goes up to $20 until registration ends on July 3 for individuals and July 2 for teams. The Tot Trot, which follows the 5K race, requires no registration and is free.

There is no registration on race day. Race packets will be available for pick up starting on June 29, and race officials encourage participants to pick the packets up before race day.

The race starts at the intersection of Lakeland Drive and the Interstate 55 Frontage Road to Eastover Drive and then moves on to Ridgewood Drive and Lakeland Drive before the finish line at the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame. Strollers are allowed but must stay in the back of the pack. No pets or roller blades are allowed.

There are three water stations on the race route. The top three overall runners—Master, Grand Master and Senior Master—will receive cash prizes. Last year’s overall winners were Joseph Chebet and Kristi Hall.

The 5K race begins at 7:30 a.m., and the mile run begins at 8:50 a.m. Fresh watermelon will be awaiting all the runners at the finish line.

Runners can also wear costumes for the race, with race participants voting on who will receive the prize for best costume. To win, the runner must wear the costume during the race.

Former “world’s fastest man” and two-time Olympic medal winner Calvin Smith, will serve as the race’s official starter for the second year in a row.

For more information, call 601-982-8264 or http://msfame.com/2016-watermelon/">visit the registration page.


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