For the first time in 22 years, the Double Decker Spring Run, sponsored by the Oxford-Lafayette County Chamber of Commerce, will change its course.
The Spring Run has always and will continue to consist of 5- and 10-kilometer runs and a 1-mile kids fun run, but various issues called for organizers to completely redo the 5k and 10k tracks this year.
The courses will both start going down North Lamar as usual, but this year, the 5k takes a longer path down University Avenue instead of running through the Square and the Grove. The 10k now bypasses campus to run along Jackson Avenue.
Pam Swain, senior vice president of the chamber of commerce and the event organizer, said the new route aims to alleviate and accommodate various issues that have arisen over the years.
“The resolution of the issues have been in the works since last year’s run in April,” Swain said. “The parts of campus we’ve always run through are now closed for construction, so we had to take a step back and basically redo the courses.”
In the past two years, the race has grown by approximately 500 runners.
“Putting that many more people zigzagging their way through the Square just wasn’t safe anymore, so we decided to keep them on University Avenue a little bit longer,” Swain said.
Swain said they wanted to avoid taking the runners down roads on which vendors will be loading in for the festival. She said the goal is to decrease traffic and collisions between vendors and runners.
In addition, the new track allows for the 5k and 10k to have the same starting line, as they were previously 50-100 yards apart.
The advantage of having the starting points match, Swain said, is that runners will be able to have a customized chip that starts their time exactly when they run across the starting mat, as opposed to when the time started with the fire of the shotgun.
The Double Decker Spring Run organizers worked hand in hand with a company called “Start2Finish” to incorporate the customized time chips.
Swain said she was thrilled about the opportunity to reroute because she wants the race to be a great experience for everyone, even veteran Spring Run participants. She said the route changes would allow racers to experience parts of the community they might not have been exposed to before.
Oxford resident Bev Thompson, who recently returned from running the Boston Marathon and ran the Spring Run for eight years, hit the new 10k course earlier this week. She said she is looking forward to this year’s Spring Run, especially since one of her daughters will be running the 10k with her.
Participants can still register for the 5k, 10k and 1-mile runs for $35 online through the 28th or for $40 before the race begins at 7:30 a.m. April 29 outside of the Oxford YMCA.