A Running Glance:
Things I loved
- Great swag bag
- Labor Day, family-friendly event
Things I less than loved
- Open course with speeding traffic
- Age group certificates
The Salvation Army is known for “Doing the Most Good.” Their annual Labor of Love race is just another way they fund assistance programs and support services for men, women, and children in our community. The work they do truly is a “Labor of Love,” one that shines through this awesome event.
$30 for early-bird registration is about the new normal price for a 5k and a decent price for a 10k. The $35 cost of pre-registration (for the three months prior) is a little steep, with race-day registration running $40. These prices were not outrageous for the 10k, but a little high for a 5k distance. I will say though, the swag bag did have lots of “extras” inside. I received this jar of “Mississippi Miracle Clay” muscle and joint mineral rub in my bag, and Opie had a full size “Neo to Go” Neosporin spray in his! Plus, there were lots of coupons, pens, stickers, clips, etc. in both bags.
Another thing I really think is neat about their pricing structure was that they offered $10 registration into the 5k walk or 5k run for kids ages 7-18, and the race was free for kids younger than 6-years-old! That’s just about unheard of! I love that they were encouraging youngsters to come out and be active while also facilitating that families participate together.
The t-shirt itself is 100% cotton, a thicker weave, but it was a lovely dark teal color. The front features a large, centered Labor of Love logo, while the back is covered with sponsors’ logos, as is customary with race shirts. This category again won its points from the overflowing swag bags outlined above. #WillRunForSwag
The finish line offerings consisted of bananas, water, canned sodas, and Gatorade. There wasn’t much in the way of food, not that I eat much after a race, but some granola bars, cookies or another treat would have been welcomed! #WillRunForFood
Local WLBT news anchorwoman Maggie Wade was on hand making announcements and awarding age group placements. It’s always a delight to see Maggie; she has such a heart for Mississippi and for children.
Every finisher received a red, heart-shaped medal with the Labor of Logo insert in the center. I wasn’t fast enough to place in my own age group, but several of my friends were rewarded for doing so with a printed certificate. I’d suggest going to pins or possibly giving free entries away to winners. I understand additional trophies and medals are expensive, but it is a race. There should be an incentive to place! #WillRunForBling
There were lots of volunteers at PPU the day before the race, and many on hand the morning of the event. One of my fellow MS Track Club-ers, Deanna, was out there keeping MS Race Timing “on track,” as usual. Thanks, Deanna, for all that you do for the Track Club and for our local racing community! There were also several water-stops on course, with friendly and often adorable volunteers!
The race started from the Harper, Rains, Knight & Company on Highland Colony Parkway. I breathed a heavy sigh when I saw this was yet another race on Highland Colony Parkway, but we lucked out! The route did veer off down Old Agency Parkway and also included a nice section of the Natchez Trace Multi-Use Trail. There were even a handful of shady spots!
Course Difficulty: LEVEL 2.5
The course itself had multiple hills and stretches of direct sunlight. However, the weather was unusually cool (at 75 degrees! Ha.) so we got lucky there as well! My biggest complaint about the entire race would have to be the open course. Cars were still allowed to drive on one lane of Old Agency. So, cars and trucks were flying by, weaving in and out of the racecourse (inside the same lane as runners) as oncoming traffic approached. It was dangerous, and the exact scenario for an accident to happen. I shouted to a couple of cars to slow down, because not only were they far too close, many were speeding too. Even at low speeds, a collision could prove deadly. In the future, I would suggest closing this section of the course to traffic or only allowing traffic to travel one-way.
There were two aid stations along the 10k route and one on the 5k course. Everyone was very helpful and encouraging.
This is a commercial area of Highland Colony Parkway so ample parking was available all around the start/finish line at neighboring businesses and retail establishments.
The Women’s Axillary of the Salvation Army really did a wonderful job organizing and presenting this family-friendly event for our community. This was my first Labor of Love race, but it definitely won’t be my last. I enjoyed starting my Labor Day off running for such an important cause at this fun event. Thank you to each and every individual who contributed, as well as the sponsors! Well-done.