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Participant safety is top priority for Tomato Festival 5K

The Tomato Festival 5K in Crystal Springs will have a totally different look this year as race organizers do all they can to ensure the safety of everyone who competes on Sept. 19.
A variety of safety measures are being put in place this year to minimize contact with others and maintain social distancing. The event would have been held in late June in conjunction with the annual Tomato Festival, but that event was canceled due to COVID-19 concerns.
According to race committee members, runners will have their temperature checked at check-in, and all participants will be required to wear masks before and after the race. Additionally, grids will be drawn in the starting area, and participants will begin the race in waves. Runners in each wave will be properly distanced. Each runner will have an electronic chip that will record their start and finish time, ensuring accurate recording of times. The first person to actually cross the finish line may not be the fastest person on the course because of delayed start times for later waves of runners.
Participants will be required to move off the course after crossing the finish line, and there will be no after-race event. Text messages will be sent to notify the winners, and there will be an electronic board displaying results.
Additionally, there will be sanitizing stations provided by Copiah County Medical Center.
Prior to the race, participants will only have to pick up their bags and T-shirts because they are expected to register electronically ahead of time.
After the race, snacks will be individually wrapped, and there will be no watermelon or other race favorites that require hands-on preparation as has been in the past.
The race is designed to limit person to person contact as much as possible.
The race will begin at 7 a.m. and will wind around Crystal Springs, beginning and ending at the Crystal Springs Community Center on Lee Avenue. There will be categories for all ages and experience levels.
The deadline to register and be guaranteed a t-shirt is Friday, Sept. 4. Online registration will continue until 10 p.m. Friday, Sept. 18 and the registration fee is $30 per participant. Awards will be presented for the overall male and female winners, as well as the top three participants in each age group.
There will also be a one-mile Kids’ Fun Run. Registration for that race is $15 and will include a t-shirt, finisher’s medal, and more.
More information is available by calling the Chamber office at 601-892-2711 or emailing tomatofest5k@gmail.com.