May 16, 2006
HATTIESBURG, Miss. -- -
While the times will not read very fast on the stopwatches, The University of Southern Mississippi track and field coaches will certainly be scrutinizing the proceedings at a May 20 track meet to be held at the Southern Miss Track and Field and Soccer Complex.
That day, however, it will not prized high school recruits racing around the Marshall Bell Track, but instead dozens of recreational runners and walkers whose participation in the second annual Pine Belt Pacer Relays will benefit a track and field and cross country scholarship at Southern Miss in the name of the Hattiesburg-area running club.
"It is going to be interesting," said Pine Belt Pacers President Jim Coll, the event's organizer. "It's a chance for recreational runners to participate in events and distances we are not used to. It's also a chance for us to compete in a team format, which adds another twist."
Coll said events range from a 1,500-meter run, to a 4x100-meter relay, to a softball throw. Participants can register as teams of 4-6 people or as individuals, whom event officials will group together to form teams.
"The majority of recreational runners are accustomed to running 5Ks or 10Ks on the road, but this event will be a chance to run 800 meters or 400 meters on the track, test their broad jump or see how far they can throw," Coll said. "It will be unique experience for all of us. Let's just say there will probably be a few laughs."
While the event enters its second year, new in 2006 will be the Bops' Kids Quarter Mile. Kids under the age of 10 are eligible to participate in the free event, and upon completion of 400 meters - once around the Marshall Bell Track - will receive a trophy and ice cream courtesy of the Hardy Street location of Bops. Kids must pre-register for the quarter mile.
Also a new edition to the event this year is a silent auction and Friday evening dinner. Auction items include memorabilia signed by former Southern Miss greats and world class distance runners. Bids are currently being accepted on the club's Web site, www.PineBeltPacers.org. The auction will conclude during the Friday evening dinner, which will be held at RARE Design in downtown Hattiesburg. Tickets to the dinner, which begins at 6:30 p.m., are $15. Reservations are required.
The track and field event will begin at 8 a.m., Saturday, May 20, with late registration beginning that morning. The Bops Kids Quarter Mile will begin at approximately 9 a.m.
For more information, visit www.pinebeltpacers.org or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.