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Runners Gear Up for 2019 Hap Hudson Homecoming Race

Photo: MC Kinesology Department Chair Chris Washam and cross country/track coach Butch Ard
Photo: MC Kinesology Department Chair Chris Washam and cross country/track coach Butch Ard

Joel “Hap” Hudson gained many fans as he coached Mississippi College football and baseball players over the years.

The 2019 Hap Hudson Homecoming Race is a splendid tribute to the legendary coach, former athletic trainer and retired kinesiology instructor. The October 26 event is one of the most popular Homecoming events on the Clinton campus.

There were 167 people signed up for last year’s 5K run/walk. The event begins at Cockroft Hall. Participants wind their way through the brick streets of Olde Towne Clinton and finish on the track at Robinson-Hale Stadium.

The Department of Kinesiology sponsors the 12th annual fun-filled event. Registration will be open from 6:30 a.m. until 7:30 a.m. that Saturday.

Race director Suzanne McDonough can’t wait to get things started. President Blake Thompson fires the gun to start the run.

“We are in full swing for the race and have many new sponsors and some old ones, too,” McDonough said.

Kinesiology professors, staff and students pitch in to make this event a success from one year to the next.

“Many students volunteer to make this race so wonderful,” says McDonough, a kinesiology professor.

A longtime Clinton resident, Hap Hudson is a big drawing card. He’s got legions of admirers across the Magnolia State. People make it a habit at Homecoming weekend to greet the beloved 1959 MC alumnus and his wife, Johnnie Ruth Hudson. Hap is a member of the MC Sports Hall of Fame.

“Hap is one of my dearest friends and he has encouraged me and helped me so much over the years,” McDonough said.

Department of Kinesiology Chair Chris Washam makes the Hap Hudson Race a priority each year.

“The Hap Hudson 5K race has become a Mississippi College Homecoming tradition,” Washam said.

Runners will receive race T-shirts. Food is provided. Medals go to first, second and third-place finishers in each age category.

Money raised from the event helps kinesiology students pay to attend regional conferences and compete in college bowls. Other funds are used to purchase lab equipment and facilitate research.

Familiar faces in the Blue & Gold family laced up their running shoes in recent years. They include: MC School of Education Dean Cindy Melton and Tracey Harrison, the university’s public relations director. “It’s always a great time with alumni and friends,” says Tracey, former president of the Clinton Chamber of Commerce.

The pre-registration cost is $25. The prices rise to $30 the day of the race. The event begins at 8 a.m. that Saturday.

For more details, contact Suzanne McDonough at 601-925-7720 or 601-940-8186.