HOUSTON – The Tanglefoot Trail will host its first major race since opening last fall with the Altis Marathon set to run Sunday morning. Hundreds of runners are expected to descend on Houston and the Chickasaw Development Foundation is urging local businesses and the community to get ready and welcome the athletes to town to run in a marathon and half-marathon. “We are asking businesses to just put up a simple sign in their store widow welcoming runners to town,” said Joyce East, Chickasaw Development Foundation executive director. “We are going to have a lot of people in town that day and we want them to feel special and realize Houston welcomes them.” The Altis Marathon will start at 7:30 a.m. and the half-marathon at 8, at Industrial Drive crossing and head north out of town, turn around and come back to the starting line. The half-marathon will cover 13 miles and the marathon the traditional 26 miles. “We want people to get excited and come out and cheer the runners on,” said Joyce East, executive director of the Chickasaw Development Foundation. “It's going to be fun day for Houston and all communities along the trail.” The race is being billed as the the inaugural Altis Marathon and Half Marathon. The entry fee is $60 for the half and $70 for the full marathon. Marathon runners are being given seven hours to finish the race and half-marathon runners six hours. Race shirts will be provided to all entrants and finishers will get a medal. The early start time is expected to bring runners to town to spend the night in local motels. The noon finish will hopefully drive racers to local restaurants. Race organizers are hoping for 150 entries. The Chickasaw Development Foundation is also looking for volunteers to help them staff the race. Don Locke, Tanglefoot Trail executive director, said workers will be needed to man water tables, start and finish lines and as flagmen at all road intersections with the Trail. “Each volunteer hour earns a minimum of $20 an hour for the volunteer's favorite non-profit - $30 an hour if the race has at least 150 entrants” said Locke. “Volunteers can email me at email@example.com to let me know which volunteer position they would like to fill.”
Tanglefoot Trail has an estimated economic impact of as much as $4.8 million for Northeast Mississippi. Tanglefoot developers have said the trail could easily see up to 100,000 users each year, with Houston the southern gateway
The Chickasaw Development Foundation has repeatedly sought ways to generate tourism in the community by hosting events featuring the Trail.
The Tanglefoot Trail stretches 44.5-miles from New Albany to Houston and sports a 10-wide asphalt surface with maintained shoulders the length of the project.
The Tanglefoot Trail is a favorite for runners and cyclist because it is flat, paved and scenic.
Whistle-stops have been constructed in Ingomar, Ecru, Algoma and Houlka. Gateways will be built — complete with parking, restrooms, historic displays and information — in Houston, Pontotoc and New Albany.
The project is partially funded by a $9.6 million federal Transportation Enhancement grant administered by the Mississippi Department of Transportation. Other funding includes $350,000 in state money and a $100,000 trails grant from the Mississippi Department of Wildlife Fisheries and Parks.
Three Rivers Planning and Development District serves as the administrative and fiscal agent for the GM&O District. A representative from each community along the trail serves on the GM&O District Board of Directors.
For more information about this event, call the Chickasaw Development Foundation at 456-2321.