By Sue Moore
“The theme for the 29th running of the Vicksburg Hearty Hustle is based upon the yin and yang of being healthy–balancing body, mind and spirit,” says Tonya Nash. The race, traditionally the second Saturday of the month, this year will leave the starting line at 9 a.m. May 14, from the Vicksburg High School stadium parking lot. Nash and Beckie Oswalt in the Vicksburg Community Education Department have been involved in planning for the Hearty Hustle for many years. “We see how much fun the participants are having. They bring their entire family to either run or walk and feel good for making the effort, balancing their own yin and yang.”
The Community Education department is assisted by Amy Manchester and Steve Goss in the assistant superintendent’s office representing the Vicksburg Community Schools Foundation, which has sponsored the race for the past two years. “It is a great harmonious community event as the course runs through the streets of Vicksburg,” Manchester says. “Everyone is a winner by moving and participating.” There are awards for those who place in the race, and drawings for raffle prizes for everyone. The Baby Bolt is especially fun for the young children from one to four years of age. All of the children receive a medal and are filled with pride.
A special volunteer award each year is given in the name of Gary Hollenbeck who was instrumental in creating the Hearty Hustle. The winner is not announced until after the race is finished. Last year, Joni Nichols and Jody Maher were recognized for their many years of quietly volunteering to help set up the stadium with chairs, tables and water, and work the clean-up detail, all behind the scenes.
Registration for the race is online atrunsignup.com/vicksburgheartyhustle. The online entry fee through May 12 is $14 for adults. Children through grade five and seniors pay $10. It’s ok to decide to enter the race at the last minute, but the price goes up accordingly. One of a kind T-shirts and hoodie sweatshirts are available for purchase with registration on the day of the event or at pre-registration on Friday, May 13 at Sunset Lake Elementary from 4:30-7 p.m.
Race partners are Bronson Vicksburg Outpatient Center, Village of Vicksburg, Vicksburg Community Schools Foundation, and Vicksburg Community Schools. Other important contributors are: Kaye Bennett who sponsors the Carl Bennett Photo Moment; Leon Hayward honoring his wife Tina, who competed well past the age of 50 in both local and national distance races and Family Fare through the donation of food and drink for the runners. So far this year Ozland Enterprises, Bubs73 Foundation, EIMO Technologies, Family Doctors of Vicksburg, PC, Fred’s Pharmacy, Grossman Law, Hungry Howie’s, Kalamazoo County State Bank and Houghton Manufacturing have all stepped up to help sponsor the event.