Chucky Mullins is a name that runs deep throughout the Ole Miss and Oxford communities.
In honor of Mullins’ legacy, Ole Miss Athletics and Oxford’s running club, Run Oxford, are holding The Great 38 run this Saturday.
The inaugural run is made up of both 3-mile and 8-mile races and is one part of a four-part Grand Prix race series in Oxford. Overall, there is $1,500 in prize money up for grabs. According to Marvin King, president of Run Oxford, associate professor of political science and coordinator of The Great 38 race, there is additional money available for select runners who are involved in the Grand Prix races.
“With each race that Run Oxford produces, there is a charitable component,” King said. “For this race, we honor Chucky’s legacy by raising money for the scholarship established by the university.”
Both the 3-mile and 8-mile races start at 7:30 a.m. near the Fed-Ex Academic Support Center. According to King, the runners in both distance races split up at the 2-mile point.
After the run, a tailgate for the Palmer Home for Children will be held at Vaught-Hemingway, adding to the charitable component of the race.
“Chucky was a foster child,” King said. “We are partnering with Palmer Home for Children to raise awareness for the acute need for more foster families in North Mississippi.”
Megan Garner, president of the Ole Miss Running Club, has participated in the past three races in the Grand Prix and will be running in the 8-mile race.
“I am excited about the course because it goes through the Walk of Champions and finishes in Vaught-Hemingway stadium on the 38 yard line, and the finishers are projected on the jumbotron,” Garner said. “It is also always a great feeling to accomplish a race, especially a semi-long one, like 8 miles.”
Mullins was a child to a single mother and became a foster child at age 13, but he never let that affect his outlook on life. Jody Hill, a teammate and friend of Mullins, wrote “38: The Chucky Mullins Effect” in order to tell Mullins’ story. Hill described how Mullins did not let the downtime after being paralyzed in 1989 dictate how he would act in life. Without the chair under him, nobody would realize anything was wrong.
“Chucky’s ‘never quit’ attitude has served as inspiration for generations of Ole Miss fans who see him as a unifying symbol of grit, toughness and hope,” King said.
Mullins’ story continues to be told across the Ole Miss campus, making its impression on scores of students, athletes, faculty and staff.
“Chucky Mullins’ legacy and the phrase ‘never quit’ is definitely inspiring,” Garner said. “Not only can it represent pushing oneself physically in athletics, but it can be applied to anything someone is trying to accomplish in everyday life. To me, it means that I can do anything as long as I have determination.”
Runners can register online at the thegreat38.com until midnight Thursday.