It’s time for the Smithville Fiddlers’ Jamboree and Crafts Festival, and as it has for 17 years, the Fiddler 5K and One-Mile Fun Run will be held on Saturday before the fiddlin’ begins.
Event organizers say the race is open to everyone, and is held each year for a very worthy cause. All proceeds from the event will be used in building a new Habitat for Humanity home in DeKalb County. Money raised from the race will go toward building materials for the project.
The race will start at 7 a.m. on July 4, rain or shine, and the 3.1-mile course will begin and end on Church Street in Downtown Smithville. The start line will be in front of the First Baptist Life Enrichment Center on Church Street. The finish line will be in front of Love-Cantrell Funeral Home.
Race Director Tecia Puckett Pryor encourages everyone to preregister. There is a link to online registration at www.fiddler5k.com. It will take you to OneStopRace, where you can register online until midnight on July 1 (today).
Race check-in is on Saturday morning, and competitors may walk up and register before the race starts as well. Race-day registration will be at 6 a.m. in the Love-Cantrell Funeral Home parking lot.
Those who pre-register may pick up their packets on Friday night between the hours of 5-7 p.m. or Saturday morning at 6:30 a.m. at the starting line. According to Pryor, picking up their packets on Friday can save runners some time, and allow them sleep a little longer on Saturday morning.
The cost of race-day registration is $30 for ages 19-up, and $25 for ages 18 and under. Pre-registration is $25 for adults age 19-up, and $20 for 18 and under.
"Anyone can participate," Pryor said. "We have a 1-mile fun run for people of all ages. If you want to walk, that’s probably the best course, unless you’re a fast walker. We leave the 5K course open for an hour, so if you can walk 3.1 miles in an hour, you’re welcome to walk the 5K course."
"The fun run course is not a strenuous course. We give prizes for the One-Mile Fun Run, 12 and under male and female, overall winners and first, second, and third. The kids really love that race, and the course stays in town. It doesn’t go down Town Hill, it stays in town where it’s very flat and ends where the 5K does."
Pryor said the 5K participants will go down Town Hill, by the golf course, up Riley Avenue by DeKalb Community Hospital, and back up Main Street toward downtown.
The race is expected to draw 300-400 runners from all over the country. Pryor said that even when the weather doesn’t cooperate the attendance is good. "The last five years we have had 350-plus runners participate. A couple of years we were over 400, and last year we had a deluge of rain and still had over 350 runners registered, with about 275 people braving the weather."
Pryor urged spectators to come out and cheer on the runners the morning of the race. "If you live along the race course, get out and cheer on these runners. It's great when you're out running and you see people out cheering for you," she said.
As in past years, the race is monitored electronically so runners will be able to see their times as soon as they finish. "We have been doing chip timing for several years, we use Tennessee Race Timing out of Cookeville. Runners can get their times as soon as they cross the finish line. We did it by paper for years, but a few years ago we made that change. It’s great, and for a race our size it’s necessary."
Runners will have a chip on their bib, and when they cross the finish line it will instantly tell them how fast they ran the race. There will be a gun start, meaning that the start is not chip timed. All the runners will start at the same time, but the finish is chip timed.
An overall male award and a female award will be given for the fastest runners. A Masters Award will be presented to the fastest male and female over age 40. The top three runners in the nine-and-younger category will receive awards, and ribbons will be presented in the same way in five-year increments.
One-Mile Fun Run winners ages twelve and younger will receive awards, with overall awards for male and female and the top three.
Run, walk, or just stop by and be a spectator. The Fiddler 5K and 1-mile Fun Run will be fun for all ages, and help give a family a home.