Another longtime and beloved annual event returns to Jacksonville later this month.
The Jacksonville Memorial Hospital 5K/10K race presented by Gatorade returns to the city’s west side on Saturday, October 22nd for the 28th time.
Race Director Kevin Eckhoff says the race was not only put on hold due to Covid for a couple of years, but lingering effects from the pandemic moved the race from the spring to a fall occasion this time around.
“A few of the Covid protocols were still in place so we were a little hesitant to start planning because we have to start about six to eight months in advance. So we decided to move it to the fall and I think runners are going to like that because of the cooler weather.
Saturday, October, 22nd is the date and we’re going to start a little bit later. Normally it’s at 7:30, but being later in the year the sun doesn’t come up quite as early as it does in May so we’re going to start at 8:00 am this year.”
Proceeds from this year’s race benefit the Jacksonville Youth Engagement Program, which helps children from low-income households participate in sports, extracurricular activities, and mentoring programs.
Eckhoff says the time of year may have changed but the course, which is an area favorite, is unchanged. “We like to call it flat and fast. So we start on the east side of the hospital and run mainly on the west side of Jacksonville through West Winds, on Lafayette, Mound, and Westgate, so it’s very familiar if you live in Jacksonville. We’ve got great volunteers at each intersection so there’s no worries about cars or anything like that, we’ll keep you safe.”
Eckhoff has served as the race director since it began back in 1994. Since then it has grown to average more than 400 participants each year.
First, second, and third place awards will be presented to male and female runners in several age categories. In addition, Eckhoff says the first 350 runners to cross the finish line receive a special reward and everyone who signs up in time will get a free tee shirt.
“It’s a nice short sleeve performance shirt, the runners like that. It has our new JMH 5k/10k logo on the front. Gatorade is our major sponsor and it’s also on the front and all our sponsors will be on the back. Everyone that crosses the finish line gets a very very cool finisher’s medallion. It’s a three-inch medallion, it’s very heavy so you could swing it around and hurt somebody if you’re not careful.
Then the prizes will be a pint glass this year with the race logo. Lots of chances to win this year, we have 13 age categories for first, second and third, male and female so lots of opportunities to win.”
Online registration is open through Oct. 21st, and the cost is $30 and anyone who registers by October 10th will receive the tech tee shirt. Registration fees are $35 on the day of the race. To register online, visit raceroster.com and search JMH.
In-person registration and packet pick-up will be offered from 5:30 to 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 20th, at the Springfield Running Center, 2943 W. White Oaks Drive, Springfield.
A second opportunity to register in person will be from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 5:30 to 7 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 21, in the main lobby of Jacksonville Memorial Hospital.