Downtown Franklin’s annual Memorial Day service is an opportunity for residents to pay tribute to the fallen soldiers who have died for our freedom.
To help maximize attendance, a group of area running enthusiasts have planned an event that they hope only increases attention on the service.
The Memorial Day Mile will be a run conducted in downtown Franklin, featuring competitive runners and families jogging or walking along a short course. Participants this year range from 6 months old to those who are nearly 100, including a group of World War II and Korean War veterans whose family members will push them along the course in wheelchairs.
The whole idea is to lead-in to the Memorial Day service and get more people — particularly families and kids — involved with it, said Chad McCullough, one of the race organizers.
“It’s a day of mourning, and we’re not trying to disrupt that,” he said. “We’re trying to give families an avenue to do something that they know is the right thing to do, but they might have struggled with what to do to let our kids know what this holiday is all about.”
This is the third year for the Memorial Day Mile. The run was created when McCullough and some other local families were looking to help increase attendance at the courthouse service.
They had started going to the event with their children, and wanted to get other people, particularly families and those with kids, involved.
“With families, its kind of a hard holiday to know what to do. Everybody knows it’s important, but what’s the right thing to do to show respect for those who have lost their lives for our freedom?” McCullough said.
Their idea was to have a short race with the sole purpose of giving families something meaningful to do on Memorial Day, with the hopes that they stay around for the service.
Starting at 9 a.m. with the national anthem, the race has staggered start times for female and male competitive runners, then the family jog and walk. Everything is finished by 10:40 a.m.
“Our timing is very intentional. We work with the city and the American Legion, to make sure our event isn’t disruptive to what’s been going on for years, so we wanted to finish up and make it easy for people to walk right over and attend the service,” McCullough said.
Since starting the race in 2015, organizers have noticed more and more people at the service wearing race T-shirts or medals, signifying that the effort is working, McCullough said.
The race is nonprofit, with low entrance fees of $12 for adults and $5 for children. Those fees cover T-shirts, medals and other supplies for the race, and anything left over is donated to community organizations. Registration will be available online through Sunday, and then people can sign up at Gray Goat Sports on the morning of the race.
Memorial Day Mile
What: A 1-mile race held to help people observe Memorial Day, as well as participate in the annual memorial service held in downtown Franklin.
When: 9 a.m. Monday; registration is from 7:30 to 8:45 a.m.
Where: Downtown Franklin on the courthouse square
Cost: $12 for adults, $5 for children under 18.
How to register: Go online at memorialdaymile.org through Sunday to sign up. Registration will also be available the morning of the race at Gray Goat Sports, 25 E. Court St.