By Gene Phelps/NEMS Daily Journal
TUPELO – Gum Tree 10K race director Andy Hughes has a message for runners this week: “Go to Corinth, run their race and come back to our’s next week.”
The 34th Gum Tree 10K Run is scheduled for 8:30 a.m. May 14 in downtown Tupelo while the 30th Corinth Coca-Cola Classic 10K will step off at 8:30 a.m. Saturday in downtown Corinth.
“We don’t want any confusion,” Hughes said, then laughed. “We’re always on the second Saturday in May and Corinth’s the first Saturday. I think we’ve done a pretty good job letting people know we’re May 14.”
Hughes said the Gum Tree, Coca-Cola and Oxford Double Decker runs have all cross-promoted this year. The Double Decker was held last week.
“That may be one of the reasons our numbers are up,” Hughes noted. “Our numbers are off the charts this year. This time last year we hade 163 entries. This same time, we have 304. Corinth’s numbers are way up, too.
“Maybe we’re back in a running boon.”
Last year’s Gum Tree had 1,288 entries, the largest total in 10 years. “I’ve love to see it get back to 1,500, 2,000 runners,” he said.
The Gum Tree always relies on a huge race-day and pre-race-day registration.
Last year, 533 registered between lunch on Friday and the race.
Next week’s race-day registration is scheduled for 7-8 a.m. near the starting line and BancorpSouth. Next Friday’s registration is scheduled for 1-6 p.m. at the Tupelo Convention and Visitors Bureau.
Runners can also register at Tupelorunningclub.homestead.com.
Last year’s overall winner, Tyson David of Tuscaloosa, Ala, has not signed up to defend his title. However, the female overall winner, Ramilia Burangulova, has entered. The Russian native won in 35 minutes, 37 seconds last year.
Former Tupelo High and Mississippi State standout distance runner Robert Scribner has entered. He finished second last year.
Contact Gene Phelps at 678-1593 or firstname.lastname@example.org.