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Mighty Half and 5k set for Saturday

By Kelley Norris

University of Mississippi

Run Oxford’s Mighty Half and 5k is set for Saturday at the University of Mississippi. The community running group will host the inaugural event sponsored by RebelWell and the Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Mississippi Foundation.

One of four races making up The Inn at Ole Miss 2016 Grand Prix series, the Mighty Half half-marathon will begin at 7 a.m. near the Manning Center, with the 5k following at 7:30. Each route takes runners through the UM campus with the half marathon extending into Oxford.

Food and free activities will be available at the Manning Center during the races, including a pop-up Zumba class by instructor Caysie Lagrone at 8:30 a.m. All events are open to the public.

The event is a way to encourage health and wellness throughout the community, said Wendy Carmean, RebelWell project coordinator.

“RebelWell and Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Mississippi Foundation is so pleased to work with Run Oxford by sponsoring the inaugural Mighty Half marathon and 5k,” Carmean said. “We have a beautiful campus and community, and it’s exciting to be able to share it with runners from across the country.

“The race is also an excellent opportunity to bring our local runners together and provide an organized event that doesn’t require travel. Oxford and Lafayette County is such a healthy and vibrant community, and it’s a treat to be an advocate for wellness in such a dynamic town.”

Race goals

The goal of race organizers is to create a youth running program for the community that will be managed by Run Oxford, said Marvin King, race director and Run Oxford president.

“Run Oxford will dedicate proceeds from this race to establish a Mighty Milers program in Lafayette County,” said King, who is also an associate professor of political science and African-American studies at UM. “We will partner with other nonprofits as we encourage youngsters to make running and exercise a regular part of their lives. Given how poor Mississippi often fares on common health measures, we know you can’t start too soon in reaching out to young people and finding fun ways to get them moving.”

RebelWell and the Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Mississippi Foundation also will contribute funds to help establish and offer continued support to the Mighty Milers program.

Weekend festivities kick off at 3 p.m. Friday at the Manning Center, with the Visit Oxford Health and Race Expo featuring more than 25 vendors and sponsors. This free event will have activities for all ages, including a bounce house, yoga and hula-hoop demonstrations, and a 50-yard dash.

A nutritionist from the Department of Intercollegiate Athletics will be on hand to answer questions beginning at 4:45 p.m. Food will be available from vendors, and The Grill at 1810 will serve the RebelWell pre-race meal from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.

Registration is open through Thursday. For registration, parking options and information on all events surrounding the Mighty Half and 5k, go to www.runoxfordhalfmarathon.com.