By John Davis, Sports Editor
Before hitting the bed each night, Marvin King checks to see how many runners have signed up to take part in the Run Oxford Half Marathon and 5K. <>
The event will take place this coming Saturday, and just before King's head hit the pillow Friday night, there were 369 people registered to take part.
“Four hundred was my initial goal. That's a pretty good number for a first year race in North Mississippi,” said King, who is the race director. “That puts us on solid footing to grow in future years.”
The Run Oxford club was created a year and a half ago and what such organizations typically do is sponsor a series of races.
“We spent the first year just getting the club together. We organized our group runs, our weekly runs and stuff like that,” said King, adding that they even had a Christmas party this past December. “Out of that, what you want to do in your typical running clubs, is sponsor three or four races a year. What we decided to do was to create a series, this grand prix series.”
The Inn at Ole Miss is the title sponsor for the entire series. The annual Double Decker Run is also part of the four races. King said it was too early to know how big the races could be from a participation standpoint.
“I do have big eyes and I would like it to be as big as it can be,” he added. “That's what we deliberately sought out partners that could help us grow. The last race in the series in October, it's called the Great 38, Ole Miss athletics is the sponsor of that race. They're going to help market the race as well. Hopefully that one will be really big. That one will finish inside of Vaught-Hemingway Stadium.”
This Saturday's race will start by The Pavilion and finish at the 50-yard line inside the Manning Center.
“We wanted to give runners something different as a way of attracting runners to this race,” he said.
The 13-mile course will wind through the streets of Oxford once the field exits off campus. Some of the local trails will be used, while some neighborhoods will be passed, King said.
“It will go past Avent Park, Rowan Oak, we cover a lot of the town and then it ends back up on campus,” he said. “All of the 5K is all on campus.”
For more information on the race, or to register, visit http://runoxfordhalfmarathon.com.