Focus on a race Interview

A tour of Historic Columbus, MS at the Columbus Pilgrimage Half Marathon

10 Feb 2014 05:40
Jean-Loup Fenaux

Hello, on April 12 2014, you’ll be organizing the Columbus Pilgrimage Half Marathon. Can you tell us where it is located?

The First Annual Columbus Pilgrimage Half Marathon & 5K is scheduled for April 12th, 2014 in Columbus, Mississippi with the start and finish at the Historic Home of Tennessee Williams.

This will be the first edition of the race. What did motivated its creation?

This race has traditionally been a 10K race associated with the Columbus Pilgrimage event in Columbus. The Pilgrimage is a showcase of historic homes in town, as well as other events designed to showcase the historic side of Columbus.


We decided to change this year’s event to a Half Marathon & 5K, which we feel will appeal to more runner’s than the 10K.

We have also included bib timing, tech shirts, pottery awards, finisher medals, and overall CASH awards for the Half this year.

What kind of route have you set up for the runners? How would you describe it?

Both races will start and finish at the Tennessee Williams welcome center.

The Half Marathon will start in front of the Tennessee Williams Welcome Center on Main Street at 7 am. Runners will run around the soccer complex, then turn onto 2nd Ave and run past the courthouse and the historic First Baptist Church. The route turns South and takes runners through the campus of Mississippi University for Women, and historic Southside Columbus. Southside features several historic homes currently on the Pilgrimage tour, as well as the historic Friendship Cemetery.

2014 Half marathon Course

Towards the middle of the course, runners will turn onto the Columbus Riverwalk. The course will take runners to the end of the Riverwalk and back with views of the newly reconstructed river bridge and Tennessee Tombigbee waterway. The course then turns onto the Island, turns around in front of Baldor, and back across the reconstructed river bridge to the finish behind the Tennessee Williams Welcome Center.

The 5K will also start in front of the Tennessee Williams Welcome Center on Main Street at 7:15 am. The route will run East on Main Street through Downtown Columbus before turning South towards Mississippi University for Women. Runners will enter the front of the college and make a loop through campus. The course will then go West on Beautiful College St, then take runners down 5th St S, 7th St S, and back up 3rd St S. The route will give runners a chance to see historic Southside Columbus, MUW, and finish behind The Tennessee Williams Welcome Center.

Credit : Columbus Pilgrimage Half Marathon

Aid Stations will be located every 2 miles on the Half Marathon course, and at the halfway point of the 5K. Also, food/beverages will be available at the finish line.

How many runners do you expect on Saturday morning? What type of runners do you plan to attract?

It’s hard to say how many people we will have with this being the first year. We hope to attract about 150 for each race, and build on that in future years. We hope to attract all runners, from competitive runners racing for prize money, novice runners, as well as beginners and mothers who will be doing the race with a stroller. We want to make the race a family oriented event.

At that time of the year, what kind of weather can we expect?

According to the weather channel, the average high is 77, and the average low is 50 for April in Columbus. I would say that in the past, the average temperature at the start has been in the 50s.

Have you planned festivities around the marathon?

The Columbus Pilgrimage

The race finished, what advice would you give a runner who has never been to Columbus before? A good restaurant, a fancy sightseeing?

The Columbus Pilgrimage would be a great way to see the historic side of our small town.

In a single sentence, what would you tell the readers of ahotu Marathons to make them register for the Columbus Pilgrimage Half Marathon?

If you are looking for a small family oriented race, with a lot of the amenities of larger races, then this race is for you. One thing that does make our race stand out will be the $4,100 Total Cash Prize purse for the overall winners of the half marathon!

Interview with Brad Atkins, Race Director. Brad has been a runner and triathlete since 2005. He has raced multiple half and full marathons, including the NYC marathon and Boston marathon. He was at Boston in 2013, crossing there finish line about an hour before the bombs exploded at the finish line. He has also competed in multiple triathlons in the area, as well as the 70.3 and Ironman distance. He started directing a local triathlon in 2012, the Possum Town Triathlon in Columbus, MS. Though he never set out to direct races, he enjoys seeing them come together, and hosting them in his hometown.

Columbus Pilgrimage Half Marathon / 5K