HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) -The Pine Belt Pacers celebrated their 20th anniversary with a 20k race along the Long Leaf Trace.
"We haven't done something like this before,” explained pacer Stacy Reischman Fletcher. “We haven't done something that starts on the trace and runs into town. It runs into the hippo in town. So there's a lot of new parts to this. We haven't done a relay, this is a new course so there's a lot of first to this actually.”
Over the last two decades, Members of the Pine Belt Pacers have been running throughout the Pine Belt, all while fundraising for many different charities. Sunday's race was a celebration of all the organization has done in the community.
"So, the Pine Belt Pacers is your local Hattiesburg running club,” said Terri Clark, volunteer with the Arc of Southeast Mississippi. “They've been around for 20 years. They are some of the most wonderful runners around. There's a lot of great runners in town, competitive runners, fast runners, but their heart is far greater than their feet."
For this event, the group chose to raise money for the Arc of Southeast Mississippi. The Arc strives to provide community based services to those with mental challenges.
"Hattiesburg is such a giving community, there are runners out that are just so excited to be here. We've raised lots of money, it's beautiful weather and you can still donate. We have several of our freedom riders who are going to be running the whole 20k with us,” said Clark.
Longtime Pine Belt Pacer, Jim Coll, ran 50 miles with a $7500 fundraising goal for the Arc.
The race began at Clyde station and ended at the Thirsty Hippo in downtown Hattiesburg.