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St. Mary’s Mardi Gras 5K, 10K, Kid’s Fun Run Saturday

February 24, 2017 GMT

MOUNT CARMEL — The 8th annual St. Mary’s Mardi Gras 5K, 10K and Kid’s Fun Run is going to have a record number of participants this year.

“Eight years ago we got a crazy idea to have a 5K because we ran a lot of them, so we thought ‘Let’s try this,’” organizer Melissa Strine said. “We turned it into two fundraisers in one, we have the run and then this huge dinner and celebration, which is really fun for everyone.”

Over 300 people are already signed up to run, and even more are planning to attend the Mardi Gras dinner that evening.

The dinner is attended by not only the runners, but also community members who were not interested or able to participate. The meal will feature grilled chicken and pork chops, complete with Cajun sides and desserts.

Registration for the run begins at 9:30 a.m. on Saturday and the Kid’s Fun Run starts at 1:30 p.m. The 5K and 10K runners will take off at 2 p.m.

“It’s high energy all day long,” Strine said.

The 5K route begins at St. Mary’s Church and goes down Market Street before turning right onto Eighth Street. The 5K group will then turn right at Plum Street, left at Fifth Street, and right down Golden Aces Way. At Fourth Street the route will turn left and go over the levee before turning right at the waterstop and following River Road back over the levee and straight until Mulberry

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Street. The runners will make a right turn at Mulberry Street and turn left on Second Street and run/walk up the hill until Chestnut Street, where they will turn right for a mad dash to the finish line.

The 10K route also begins at St. Mary’s Church and will follow a similar route as the 5K until River Road, where runners will proceed straight and turn around at the 3 mile sign. They will run straight along the river route past the boat ramp and past the second water stop before continuing straight on River Road, going over the levee and straight until Mulberry Street. At Mulberry Street the route will make a right and then turns left on Second until Chestnut Street where runners will turn right and make their way to the finish line.

Sixty volunteers are stationed at every corner and intersection to ensure runners’ safety.

“My main concern with our run because we do have a lot of people, and a lot of kids. The kids break off from their parents and their parents can’t keep up with them — so at least they’ll know that their kid is not going to get lost and they will be safe,” Strine said.

There will be music, awards for the race winners and door prize winners beginning at 3:30 p.m.

Dinner will be from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Mount Carmel Elks, located at 219 N. Market Street, where Moneka Fullop will also be performing. People will be able to enter into raffles for a selection of 35 to 40 gift baskets, ranging in items from kids, fitness, hunting, desserts, technology, cosmetics and gardening.

The event, developed by the Rockets Foundation, benefits St. Mary’s Catholic School.

Just in the 2016-2017 school year, the Rockets Foundation has given $100 to each St. Mary’s teacher for supplies, provided a kindergarten rug and polos for every student and staff memeber, purchased girls basketball uniforms, three steel carts for lunchroom use and four hard drives, and allowed for St. Mary’s to update technology.

“We are blessed with a small town that is so willing to give,” said Strine.

For more information or to register, visit www.fueltherockets.com or the St. Mary’s Mardi Gras 5K/10K/Kid’s Fun Run page on Facebook.