By Sue Moore
Runners, walkers, babies and loyal supporters are getting in shape for the 32nd annual Hearty Hustle 5K run sponsored by the Vicksburg Community Schools Foundation (VCSF). The starting gun goes off on Saturday, May 11 at 9 a.m. at the high school. It will be followed by the Baby Bolt at 10 a.m. Awards will be handed out for the top runners in each category.
Founded in 1987, the run was intended to help folks get in shape for the summer and reduce the incidence of heart disease by getting fit. That is still the core mission, said Lucas Hillard, co-chair of the event. “We have found that whole families like to participate. It’s more like a fun thing they can do together. Even the littlest member of the family can participate because of the Baby Bolt that takes place for 4-year-olds and under.” The race route winds through the downtown streets of Vicksburg ending up at the high school stadium track.
Added incentives to sign up are the prize money for any school building in the district which has the most runners registered. When participants sign up online at: https://runsignup.com/Race/MI/Vicksburg/VicksburgHeartyHustle, they are asked to designate which building they choose to support – the high school, middle school or the three grade school buildings. The prize money will go to the winning school for some extras that aren’t included in the budget, according to Superintendent Keevin O’Neill.
Each person signing up before April 29 receives a free T-shirt with the theme for the year printed on the front and the logos of the sponsors of the event on the back. Local sponsors include Lyster Roofing, Grossman Law, Edward Jones, Ozland Enterprises, Kalsee Credit Union, Fred’s Pharmacy, Stewart-Sutherland, Frederick Construction, Vicksburg Lions Club, Bub’s 73 Foundation, Printing Services, Vicksburg Rotary Club and Chem Link at the $250 level. Several other businesses have supported the event at the $100 level, Hillard said.
Everyone’s a winner when they successfully run the race, Hillard pointed out. This is a fundraiser for the School Foundation. This year’s big project has been to retrofit a school bus to make it into the “Big Read Machine” a bookmobile to serve youngsters all over the district in the summertime. The funds from the Hearty Hustle also help with the Advanced Placement Capstone Diploma program that the VCSF has initiated. Rather than teaching subject-specific content, these courses develop students’ skills in research, analysis, evidence-based arguments, collaboration, writing, and presenting. Students who complete the two-year program can earn one of two different AP Capstone awards, which are valued by colleges across the United States and around the world. Through the Foundation, this program has been instituted in Vicksburg High School.