A Running Glance:
Things I loved
- Coke themed event & branded swag
- Medal shaped like a Coke bottle
- Fun on-course and post-race atmosphere
- Official pre-race dinner, complete with fellowship & PIZZA
Things I less than loved
- Add one or two more aid stations
The Corinth Coca-Cola Classic 10k Race began in 1982 and has been an annual tradition for the community for nearly 40 years. This event spotlights the importance of physical fitness, especially in children. All proceeds benefit the “Kids Get Fit Initiative”, a unique classroom curriculum implemented in Alcorn County’s elementary and middle schools. Not only does this program provide the schools’ administration with the learning materials they need to teach students the importance of living a healthy lifestyle, but it also focuses on the development of character skills such as; encouragement; maintaining a positive attitude; and how to set and achieve goals. Y’all know this is right up my alley! THIS is what RUNable’s core beliefs are built on. So, in addition to putting on a REALLY awesome event for 38 years running (pun, intended) they also give back to their community and positively impact the lives of others. Yes. Yes. ALL OF THE YES!
I don’t know of many $25 10k races, and I certainly can’t name a single one with as much to offer as the Coke 10k!! For starters, the evening before the race there is an official pre-race dinner at Pizza Grocery. (Pizza: the reason we run.) Tickets are sold in advance for $15 and include a really fun night of fellowship with folks from all over the state, as well as the presentation of that year’s winners of the Gold Standard Bearer awards. This is a neat little thing that the Coke 10k does to honor area runners who have made significant contributions to physical fitness, either by action or example. They recognize ordinary runners who have done extraordinary things! If you know someone who fits the bill, you can nominate them here.
In addition, the Coke 10k always invites an interesting speaker to address attendees. Last year, they had a gentleman who ran Boston the year of the bombing, and this year a doctor gave us all some sound advice on healthy living. (It was much more fascinating than I just made it sound.) The pre-race dinner is truly one of my favorite parts of this event. Food, fellowship and … talking about RUNNING. Shout out to all my MS Coffee Runners!
The t-shirt is tech material! Let me repeat: THE T-SHIRT IS TECH MATERIAL!! I love when races recognize that active people (like runners and walkers) wear a lot more tech material than we do cotton! If you want me wearing your logo, my advice is that you slap it on a nice fitting tech shirt! 😉 This year’s design was pretty interesting too. It’s the handy-work of none other than Andy Yelenak, renowned sports artist and freelance illustrator. I think it sort of has a Normal Rockwell quality to it.
Post-race, they always throw out a TON of Coca-Cola branded swag. This year, I was in the back (and five-feet-tall), so I didn’t catch anything. But last year I snagged a super cool lunch box that I use all the time. They also have a little mini-health fair inside the Coke warehouse after the race, and if you go around to all the booths, you’re entered into a drawing to win some great prizes. This year it was a fit bit and a bicycle! Swanky! I did snag this frisbee for my #JackRussellTerrorist, #NoraTheExplorer.
There isn’t a traditional expo, but the packet pick-up was held at the Coke Museum, which is also where the finish line is located. From there we are ushered inside the warehouse, where coke floats await!! I took several of the pics below but many I borrowed from my running buddy Rod of Rod’s Racers.
The post-race party atmosphere is just that! A party! In addition to Coke floats (YUM!) participants were given goodies bags full of snacks, offered sandwiches, cheese, fruit and more Coca-Cola soda pops than you can even imagine!
Another neat thing the Coke 10k always does is the display they create out of Coke cases. This year’s design was pretty creative and gave a nod to a little race you may have heard of before called THE BOSTON MARATHON. If you’re at all familiar with this event, then you know that during the last leg of the race you take a “Right on Hereford, Left on Boylston.” These streets and this reference have become infamous, especially among runners. So, in tribute to these famous streets, the Coke 10k very cleverly identified that the last turn of their race is a “Left on Fillmore, Right on Foote.” There’s even a small “Left/Right” logo on the back of the race shirt. It’s kind of a “running nerd” inside joke!
I’ve run this race the last two years and aside from the varying logos on the ribbon and the date printed on the bottom of the Coke bottle, the medals are identical. For the last several years, they’ve consistently used this same design. They are a little on the small side, but heavy and well made.
The age group and overall awards were pretty neat too, all incorporating a similar Coke bottle design. I wasn’t even close to fast enough to earn one of these bad boys, but my awesome friend Kathy was!
There were many volunteers on course, and more spectators than at a usual race. The course winds through some beautiful residential areas, and it must be a family tradition to sit on your porch, sip coffee, and watch all the crazy Coke 10k runners go by!! Many spectators also set up tents along the side of the road or camped out in their driveways to cheer us on. Having so many people on the course is so encouraging and really makes you forget that you’re running 6.2 miles!
In addition to the gorgeous homes along the route, most of the course was wooded, with some nice patches of shade. The roads were all very recently repaved, which made for such a smooth run! I’m from Jackson, where we’re known for potholes that swallow school buses! (That’s not a joke. This actually happened no less than two weeks ago.) If you’re looking for a race with stroller-friendly terrain, brothers, and sisters … this is it. The course was well marked with bright red “Coke 10k” arrows painted right on the street. You can tell this city embraces this race! My favorite site on this course is the “graffiti bridge.” It’s so colorful, and at less than a mile from the finish line, a very vibrant and welcomed sight!
Course Difficulty: LEVEL 2.5
Now, there are a couple rolling hills. So, if you read the last section about the smooth terrain and started having crazy daydreams about pushing your twins in the double stroller, let me give it you straight: you should totally do it! There’s no better training! And modeling that behavior for your littles is a very important win-win. You are taking care of your health while setting a great example for your kids; that’s momentous! I found this neat video on the Coke 10k site, if you’d like a REAL view, go here.
Several aid stations were offering water, and a few even had Powerade up for grabs. I left my handheld water bottle at home because the forecast called for rain. I decided I’d risk it rather than having to hold a soaking wet bottle “contraption” the entire race. There were a couple times where I wished I had brought it; there could have been one or two more water stops.
We parked in a field right around the corner from the warehouse, and this year we didn’t even get the Prius stuck! WOOHOO! There is plenty of parking surrounding the start/finish area, and it’s all free and easily accessible.
Having finished 18 Boston Marathons (17 consecutive, including 2019) and garnering 42 years of marathon running experience, the Coke 10k is truly blessed to have Mr. Kenneth “Koach” Williams as its race director. This gentleman has a love for running and the running community that makes my heart swell with pride. His enthusiasm for the sport is contagious and I hope we all catch it. See you next time, Koach!