By Sue Moore
For 30 years, the Hearty Hustle has been a place for runners, walkers and family to come together to enjoy the exercise and the feeling of accomplishment for finishing the 5K race through the streets of Vicksburg.
From the beginning, the run has had a feeling of family fun, fellowship and exercise, Amy Manchester said. She is overseeing the arrangements for the race that takes place Saturday, May 13 at 9 a.m. at the high school stadium. There will be awards for the top finishers in different categories, prizes for just being registered, plus food and water for the runners and walkers.
Bronson Hospital was the founder of the Hearty Hustle 30 years ago with Danna Downing in charge of it for 25 years. The Community Education department in the school system worked with Downing in the intervening years. In 2017, the Vicksburg Community Schools Foundation has agreed to accept the management of the race to keep it going for many more years. Manchester is the executive assistant to the Foundation.
The event includes a “Baby Bolt” for children four years and under. The little ones bring smiles and lots of encouragement to the youngsters as they try to emulate their parents who have shown them the way at the starting line. Specialty T-shirts will be included with each registration. This is a departure from the past where participants paid extra for the proof of participation that has been offered to runners throughout the years.
Volunteers to conduct the race are the engine that makes the Hearty Hustle run smoothly, Manchester explained. Mike Roy, the high school athletic director, is the voice of the race, announcing each runner as they enter the stadium track. He gets his information from long-time volunteers Lloyd Appell and Garrard Macleod who communicate with him from the field through walkie-talkies. All the board members of the School Foundation will be stationed on the roadway and around the track to help the race run smoothly.
Sponsors for the Hearty Hustle include Bronson Hospital, Leon Hayward in honor of his wife Tina, who was a champion runner in the event for many years, Family Fare for its food donation, Grossman Law, Printing Services, Frederick Construction and Ozland Enterprises. All have contributed to making the race a success, Manchester said.
Registration is at runsignup.com/vicksburgheartyhustle.