A Downtown After Dark 5K Run, a first for Warren County, is being organized for July 29 at 8 p.m. Applications will be available during McMinnville’s Fourth of July celebration downtown.
The run will be held during intermission of the final Main Street Live concert, which is presented free to the public by Main Street McMinnville. Concerts are held on the West Lawn of Security Federal.
Blaine Wilcher, county representative on the Main Street McMinnville board, is the event organizer. He has organized two other races and wants this one to benefit the Main Street McMinnville organization.
Wilcher says night runs are gaining popularity. Cookeville is in its fourth year holding a night run, he says.
“It’s kind of like going to the movies, I guess,” he said. “You want to go at night. Night runs are the buzz thing right now, and they are cooler on the individuals running.”
The route will begin at Security Federal Bank on the Morford Street side and proceed to W. Main Street, turn onto Post Road and continue up to Sunset Drive toward the Civic Center and onto the walking trail. After traveling the entire length of the trail, runners will cross the Civic Center parking lot and exit the lower part of the lot onto Clark Boulevard. The race will travel toward W. Main Street and back to Security Federal.
McMinnville officials approved the run during a Safety Committee meeting June 21, after safety concerns were addressed and the original route was modified.
“Anytime there is an event of this nature, whether it be the Fourth of July Fun Run, Christmas Parade, or any of these types of events, there are inherent dangers when pedestrians are involved,” said McMinnville Police Chief Charlie Sewell. “When you hold the event at night, it multiples that factor somewhat.”
The original route proposed would have taken runners into the downtown area and include the full length of Main Street, and crossing Chancery Street and Spring Street intersections.
“We looked at the original route,” said Capt. Mike Lane. “We figured it would probably take 12 officers, either uniformed officers or PSU officers, and 12 volunteers. The alternative route would avoid the downtown area. We could do that with about five officers and about eight volunteers.”
Cost for the original route will be approximately $600 to cover the pay of the 12 police officers. The alternative route will cost $180 for five officers. Event organizers opted to go with the alternative route.
Vice Mayor Everett Brock asked about having the runners wear some type of reflective material as the city’s insurance requires something when an event such as this is held at night.
“Pretty much anyone who runs has something,” said Wilcher. “If they have any kind of running material, it will have reflective particles on it. Can I guarantee 100 percent that each runner will show up with something? No, I can’t. There is no way to control that.”
Main Street McMinnville executive director Carla King added, “We can make sure each of them are given something, even if it is a glow stick bracelet.”
Safety Committee members Aldermen Clair Cochran, Rick Barnes and Brock unanimously voted to allow the event.
Applications will be available during the Stars & Stripes Fun Run in downtown McMinnville on July 4, as well as at the Civic Center, Chamber of Commerce, and Main Street McMinnville.
Cost is $20, which includes a T-shirt for those who pre-register. Trophies will be awarded. For more info, call King at 506-5335.