Jennifer Clark (HF16743, MM15623) – Run The 🌈 Rainbow Saturday March 18th
There IS gold at the end of a rainbow… Run the Rainbow for Children’s!
This inaugural event is a must if you need Mississippi, one of the best inaugural events we have ever attended!
Packet pick up was quick and easy. Located in a nice gym, The Grit, the volunteers made you feel welcome and excited about the next days event! David picked up my packet and put our names in the “Selfie” board. The packet included my bib and race shirt and also a band-aid holder and a pair of green sunglasses. After all, it is a St Patrick’s-themed run.
The morning of the race, parking was located less than a 100 yards at the Fairgrounds. A short walk up the hill behind the old Train Depot, and you were at Hal and Mal’s, Jackson’s legendary restaurant! Hal and Mal’s served as the location for the start and finish line. There is not a better place for a finish line than a restaurant and bar… but more on that later!
This is the first year for the newly refurbished “Run the Rainbow for Children’s.” Previously it had only been a 5K, then Covid put it on hold. This year there was not only a 5K but also a 10k and a half marathon. There were close to 900 runners across all the distances, with about 200 doing the half.
The first few miles circled around downtown passing the Two Museums, Mississippi History and Mississippi Civil Rights Museum. When you visit Jackson, put those Side by Side Museum’s on your list of Must See!
Next, we headed north through the Belhaven area toward the Children Hospital. (Let me say right here that this is a hilly course. Just when you get to the top of one another pops up.) This is a historical part of the city, home to famous Mississippi authors, Eudora Welty and Willie Morris. While Jackson overall has some hills, Belhaven’s hills are quick up and downs and quite challenging!
We did a short run through part of the University of Mississippi Medical Center campus where the Children’s Hospital is located. Along some of the route there were pictures of children that the hospital has served in the past. The pictures reminded you why the participants where doing this race! And there were a few small hills there.
Once we exited the UMMC’s grounds we travel on Lakeland Drive towards Museum Row. To the left was the Mississippi Agricultural Museum and to the right we turned on Museum Blvd passing the Mississippi Children’s Museum and the Mississippi Natural Science Museum and more hills. At the end of Museum Row we did a turnaround and retraced the route to the Medical Center.
The second time through UMMC, we circled through a different section. This route brought us to the front of the Children’s Hospital and a large group of supporters, many being employees out cheering an showing their gratitude for the runners.then back to the Belhaven area, home of beautiful historic homes, Belhaven University, and some of the biggest hills.
Exiting the Belhaven area, we came up on an especially interesting part of the course, a a run on the new Museum to Market trail, which was a paved rail-trail going from the Belhaven area back toward downtown. What a reprieve since it was FLAT. One of the newest addition to the Jackson Metro area trails, It had benches, trash cans, markers and art painted on the section that ran under the Fortification bridge.Eventually this trail will connect the Children’s and Science museum and the farmers market at the fairgrounds. Exiting the trail near High Street the course headed south and then north to the finish line. Oh, and did I mention the two hills during this final section???
There were a number of things that I was very impressed with, especially the police presence on the course. There were Jackson PD, Capitol Police, and private security on the entire course with the UMMC Police on the campus.They did a great job stopping traffic at cross streets and helping runners run safely on roads that weren’t closed.
I was also impressed with the aid stations. They were every 1.5 – 2 miles, were well-manned with fun volunteers dressed in costumes, especially St Paddy’s Day attire. The stations provided water and Gatorade and some also had GU and other snacks. There were some “rogue” neighborhood aid stations with Fireball and fruit.
The medal is a nice size and sparkly. The after-party featured beer, a cocktail bar, and red beans and rice. A well known local bank, Hunter and the Gators gave the finish a true atmosphere of “Welcome to the Party!” Hal and Mal’s had a special menu for the runners! It was delicious!
I thought this was a great race. It was a great day for a half marathon… cool and crisp. As an inaugural race, it was excellent!often times people can be a little leery of a new race. Even though this has been done as a 5K in the past, with a multi-year shut down due to Covid and the addition of a half marathon, this definitely can fall into the inaugural category.
I believe this race can become one of Mississippi’s best races in a short time. I heard many other people, and I also agreed, that this race was better than the Mississippi Blues. There are a few tweaks that can be made to improve this race. With a few corrections, this race is well on its way to becoming one of Mississippi’s Premier races. This race actually did have a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow! And it was all for a great cause, helping the children of Mississippi.
Need Mississippi as a state? Then add this one to your calendar. Hopefully we will see some of y’all out of state runners next year!
Half Marathon #232!!
Photo and Post Credit Jennifer Clark