Million Dollar Impact From Mississippi Blues Marathon

09/19/2017 - 11:46

msblueslogo-nodate-1.pngJACKSON, MS — The Mississippi Blues Marathon was hit by a rare ice store in January of this year and was cancelled the night before the event. About 4,000 runners had registered for the various events, including the marathon, half marathon, quarter marathon, and relays. Runners were offered free entry into a Rock’n’Roll race and a 25% discount into the next Mississippi Blues Marathon event. They could also run a virtual race and submit proof of finishing a marathon to receive a Mississippi Blues race packet, which included a medal from the event.

The 11th annual event will be held Jan. 27, 2018 with Continental Tire as the presenting sponsor. Total economic impact will be over a million dollars, Race Director John Noblin said, adding that the race has averaged 56% out-of-state runners. “Most tourism is tied to events and this is a big deal. The city and state are very supportive,” he added, noting that the event has had runners from all 50 states and several foreign countries.

Volunteers “come from all over town, including a lot of non-runners and repeat volunteers who like to make visitors feel welcome,” Noblin said. About 1,000 volunteers are needed.

Finisher medals will be guitar featured in line with blues music from musicians who will be at the start/finish line and along the course.

An expo will be held at the downtown Marriott on Thursday afternoon and Friday prior to the Saturday, Jan. 27, races, which include a marathon, half marathon, quarter marathon, and marathon relay.

The Mississippi Blues Marathon had its beginning in 2008 after several years of consideration. Noblin said he actually discussed the idea at the Department of Tourism about 2002 “but I was ahead of the curve a little on the marathon boom and we shelved the idea. Then, about 2007, he got a call from a first-time marathoner asserting that Jackson needed a marathon. (A former marathon was held on the nearby Natchez Trace with a 13.1 mile out and back course.)

Noblin had finished an IRONMAN and had run the Boston Marathon and his interest was such that a meeting was arranged to discuss the marathon possibility for Jackson. About 10-12 people attended and Noblin was selected to lead the effort. Blue Cross sponsorship followed for the first 10 years.

Additional information and to register:

A “Back to Back Challenge” is being planned with the Big Beach Marathon & Half Marathon the next day (Jan. 28) at Gulf Shores, Alabama.

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