The Cotton Row Run in Huntsville is celebrating 40 years and is featuring a new 5k course

For four decades, this road race has been a Memorial Day tradition in downtown Huntsville.

Each year the runners assembled at the start are reminded of the meaning of Memorial Day and that they have the freedom to run because brave Americans sacrificed for this nation’s liberty.

The 40th annual Cotton Row Run is scheduled for Monday, Memorial Day. Construction moved the start from the Von Braun Center to Big Spring Park. The 10K course remains basically the same, including the big hill on Mountainwood Drive, but the 5K course is totally different.

“We’re excited. Lots of new changes this year,” said Donna Palumbo, in her second year as race director.

The new title sponsor, Bill Penney Toyota, will give away a 2019 Mitsubishi Mirage, to a race registrant whose name is selected by computer.

On Monday, the 10K starts at 7 a.m. and the 5K at 9 a.m. The pace car will be given away during the 5K opening ceremony from 8:40-9. The one-mile fun run starts at 10 a.m.

More runners have registered for this year’s race than in 2018, according to race organizers. By the close of regular registration, 2,140 had registered for the 10K, 1,719 for the 5K and 205 for the one mile. By comparison the final numbers for the 2018 Cotton Row had 2,079 10K, 1,620 5K and 184 one-mile.

“We’re ahead of the total numbers now (from last year),” Eric Fritz, president of the Huntsville Track Club, which conducts the race, said. “We usually get over 400 (late registrants) the day before the race.”

Three men who have run all 39 Cotton Row 10Ks and plan to run their 40th on Monday include Bill Allbritton, 64, of Scottsboro; J.D. Turner, 71, of near Elkton, Tennessee; and Kevin Jose, 58, of Huntsville.

posted Thursday May 23rd
by Skip Vaughn