In a statement, Tupelo Mayor Jack Reed said the festival and running event had "worked out all the details for the simultaneous events to be held."
Festival officials wanted the 32-year-old race to alter its course and not run on Jefferson Street in front of the Lee County Courthouse, where vendors would be setting up for the two-day event.
Festival director Tina Lutz cited safety issues as the reason for requesting the change. For the first time in its 39-year history, the festival has moved entirely to the streets surrounding the courthouse to avoid damaging its lawn.
Gum Tree race director Andy Hughes refused the festival's request, citing course certification issues and the fact the Jefferson Street portion in question has always been part of the race's traditional course.
"We just came to an agreement," Hughes said of Friday's compromise. "We will be able to use that part of Jefferson during the race, then they will use it for the festival."
Reed told WTVA that the food vendors will make a path for the race and city workers will help the vendors set up again once the race is completed.
Hughes said that a path will be made for the race and it has been worked out. Any wires or such will be covered by carpeting which is common in bigger runs. Runners will be informed on the changes.
Hughes got some more good news earlier Friday from USA Track & Field, which said the Gum Tree course was indeed certified. During the dispute, festival officials had questioned whether the course was certified. If it wasn't sanctioned, then it could be altered was the thinking.
Hughes contacted the USATF this week regarding the run's certification. The organization's website did not list the Gum Tree as a certified run.
The USATF admitted its oversight and sent paperwork to Hughes indicating the 6.2-mile course was certified on April 29, 1996. The certification does not expire until Dec. 31, 2011.
"I don't know what happened, but I do know we're certified," Hughes said. "I'm glad the issue came up. I thought we were in good standing through 2016.
"If this didn't happen, I wouldn't have known."
The elite runners who participate in the Gum Tree each year do so because the course is certified by USATF and times recorded here can be used as qualifiers for other races.
"The course certification was not the main reason we didn't want to change," Hughes said. "The most important issue is that this is the Gum Tree course."
Run numbers up
In other Gum Tree 10K news, race director Andy Hughes said registration is up from previous years. As of Friday afternoon, 309 had entered the race.
“We had 196 this same time last year,” he said. “The most we’ve ever had at this date since I became race director (2002) is 216.”
As in previous years, many will wait to sign up until the day before the run or race day, Hughes noted.
Last year, almost 1,000 runners and walkers registered for the 10K and the 2K fun run/walk.
>> Download Certification Letter <<