By Michaela Gibson Morris/NEMS Daily Journal
TUPELO – The Komen North Mississippi Race for the Cure is headed downtown.
In front of Tupelo City Hall, race organizers announced Tuesday that the 14th annual race set for Oct. 29 will begin and end in Tupelo’s Fairpark District.
The race, which raises money for Susan G. Komen for the Cure breast cancer research and breast health education and screenings in 15 Northeast Mississippi counties, has previously been held at The Mall at Barnes Crossing.
“We feel like having it downtown will generate new excitement,” said North Mississippi affiliate chairwoman Shannon Fryery.
The race has averaged 3,800 participants and aims to grow beyond 4,000, but not just for the money it generates.
“The awareness and education about breast cancer that occurs through the race are just as important,” Fryery said.
The affiliate’s race committee suggested the change after researching other successful Race for the Cure events.
“The one common factor they all had was that they partnered with their downtown areas,” said race director Edwin Crenshaw. “Not to mention this is going to be a really fun course to run.”
The 5K race – 3.1 miles – will start at the Hilton Garden Inn and wind through downtown and the historic neighborhoods along Church, Jefferson and Robins streets, Highland Circle and Madison Street before finishing at Tupelo City Hall. The one-mile fun run will start with the main race but will detour through the Fairpark neighborhood.
The downtown community welcomed the race with open arms.
“This is exactly the type of activity we need,” said Jim Goodwin, president of the Downtown Tupelo Main Street Association.
Race organizers still hope to keep The Mall at Barnes Crossing engaged with the event.
“We’ve had a lot of success at the mall,” Fryery said. “They’ve been a wonderful partner.”
Mall officials say they hope to hold events leading up to the race to continue their support.
“We hate to lose it, but we understand that they’ve outgrown the course,” said mall marketing director Cindy Childs, referring to the leaders who run into the tail end of the pack when the race route doubles back on itself.
“We support the race and its cause.”
Contact Michaela Gibson Morris at (662) 678-1599 or firstname.lastname@example.org.