Thursday, February 25, 2010
Pilgrimage 5K run set for April 17
The Garden Club of Holly Springs invites 5K enthusiasts to race through history during the town’s 72nd Annual Pilgrimage.
This year, participants will run or walk their way through 3.1 winding miles of sprawling historic homes, stately churches and vibrantly blooming azaleas in the charming North Mississippi town.
The race, which will be held on Saturday, April 17, will begin on the courthouse square in Holly Springs. Participants will run through the quaint downtown square with its charming storefronts and historic courthouse. This leg of the route includes Christ Episcopal Church, which was built in 1858, and boasts a lofty octagonal spire and 16 stained-glass windows, as well as the oldest Pilcher tracker organ still in use today. Runners will also pass the First United Methodist Church, circa 1849, which was used for town court sessions after the courthouse was burned during the Civil War. This church also treasures a Bible returned by a Union soldier who took it while in Holly Springs.
The race route will also include sightings of Montrose, the stately antebellum mansion that is home to the Holly Springs Garden Club, and its surrounding woodland arboretum. Across the street, runners will view Athenia, considered by some experts to be the finest example of classical Greek architecture in the state. This leg also features Airliewood, built in 1858, used by Major General U.S. Grant as his headquarters and family residence during the winter of 1862-1863.
Other sightings on the run will include the historic train depot, a site of the famed Van Dorn raid in the Civil War, the Kate Freeman Clark Art Gallery, the beautiful Finley Place mansion and the hauntingly lovely Grey Gables home, which is currently under restoration.
Runners will enter the outstanding cast-iron and wrought-iron fences of Hillcrest Cemetery, the beautifully preserved burial place for 13 Confederate generals and the first African American elected to the U.S. Senate, before returning to the courthouse square for the completion of the race and presentation of medals.
“This will be one of the most unique races you’ll ever run,” said race coordinator Nancy Jones. “So many runners, veteran and beginner, love the race because of the route (the one used for the Killer Kudzu) and the beautiful scenery along the way.”
Each participant in the race will receive a T-shirt, a gift bag and a discount on tickets to a Pilgrimage event. All proceeds from this race benefit the preservation of Montrose, the headquarters of the Holly Springs Pilgrimage and home to its garden club sponsors.
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