September 8, 2003
Patients, runners benefit from fast-paced Reunion Race
By Lisa Uzzle Gates
Health and Research News Service
FLOWOOD, Miss.—As Jim Myrick approaches Methodist Rehabilitation Center’s east campus in Flowood, his eyes scan Layfair Drive as only a competitive runner can.
For 17 years, Myrick has participated in the hospital’s annual Reunion Race, and he’ll be back for the 18th installment on Sept. 13.
The race raises funds for the non-profit hospital and serves as a homecoming for former patients, but neither objective is the primary lure for local runners like Myrick.
They just appreciate the chance to post their best times on the race’s fast, flat course.
“It’s the best course I’ve run,” Myrick said. “It’s flat and there is some shade along the way. It’s great for your time. And seeing the physically challenged athletes is always inspiring—they are so enthusiastic. The wheelchair racers start about a minute before we do and we never catch them.”
Myrick began running one block at a time 26 years ago as a way to lose weight. Within the year, he had not only lost the excess weight, but had begun running competitively. Today, at age 68, he runs 40 miles a week.
Myrick said this Reunion Race will include a twist for him. As a back pain sufferer, he’s also now a patient at Methodist Rehab. But he has been working with doctors and reminding them how important it is to him to run the race. “I’ll be running the rehab race, don’t worry,” he said.
He won’t be the only one.
Hundreds of runners, walkers and wheelchair racers from across the south are expected to participate in the race. Events include a 5-kilometer race/walk and one-mile fun run. Proceeds will benefit the hospital’s patient care fund, which helps patients in need buy wheelchairs and other special equipment.
The race weekend kicks off with a pre-race party from 6 to 8 p.m. Friday, Sept. 12 at Red, Hot and Blue in Jackson. Pre-registered runners will be treated to food and beverages and pre-registration will be available onsite. Featured entertainment will be Chris Gill of the well-known, Jackson-based band, Gilmore. Gill rehabbed at Methodist after being injured in a near fatal car wreck in April 2001. Now he’s back helping raise money for other patients who need assistance.
Sammy Safety, the hospital’s certified safety superhero, and Safety Saurus, the injury prevention dinosaur who survived extinction by playing it safe, will also be at the pre-race party and at Reunion Race on Saturday, Sept. 13. The race will also feature Biker Dave’s Bicycle Stunt Show and The Independence, Methodist Rehab’s 69,000 cubic foot competition hot air balloon. Participants and spectators at the race can also participate in a free health fair and health screenings.
The Reunion Race is $15 for pre-registration or $20 on race day. For more information about registering, call 601-364-3451.
Methodist Rehabilitation Center is one of only 16 hospitals in the country designated as a Traumatic Brain Injury Model System by the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research and is only one of two in the state accepted into the prestigious Council of Teaching Hospitals. It is also the only hospital in the state to be named one of America’s best by US News and World Report.
For more information:
Hospital holding Reunion Race | The Clarion-Ledger
Wheelchair athletes worth watching | The Clarion-Ledger
Sammy Safety is out front as Reunion Race gets underway in Flowood.