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Tung Blossom 5K Run

I love the way our small community is rooted in tradition. One of the traditions that I have come to love are the annual 5k Runs that surround holidays and events.

Picayune Rotary just held their St. Patrick’s Day 5K Run and the upcoming April Spring Street Festival heralds the Annual Tung Blossom 5k Run.

The Tung Blossom 5K Run is one of my favorites because it is held during a beautiful time of year and runners get to work their bodies while enjoying the scenery of our garden district.

Jonathan Denton of First Baptist Church in Picayune explained the origins of the race and told me a little about its namesake, the Tung tree.

Denton said the race began as a Picayune Main Street, Inc. event and the board of directors voted to name the inaugural Tung Blossom 5 K Run/Walk after the history of the Tung Nut Tree in Pearl River County.

The tree was honored in this way because of its’ role in the area’s economy from 1937 through 1969. During this time, the city of Picayune and county of Pearl River in South Mississippi were known as the Tung oil center of the world with 60,000 acres of Tung trees planted.

The Tung tree is native to China and is primarily identified by heart shaped leaves. The Chinese translation for tung means heart. Fruit produced by the tree is shaped like a ball with a very hard shell and is very poisonous. Beautiful clusters of pink blossoms bloom in early spring and the fallen petals resemble snow on the ground below the trees.

“For the past 4 years, Picayune’s First Baptist Church has been hosting the event to promote a healthy lifestyle within the community,” Denton said. “The 5K course was designed to take runners through a scenic view of historic downtown Picayune during the spring bloom. The course will start on Goodyear Boulevard and take runners through River Oaks and past the school on Third Avenue.”

There will be one water stop during the race as well as refreshments at the beginning and end of the race.

The 9th Annual Tung Blossom 5K Run/Walk is this Saturday, April 5, 2014. Registration begins at 7 a.m. in the Link at FBC Picayune at 401 Goodyear Boulevard. The race starts at 8 a.m. and awards will be issued  at 9 a.m. at the Link.

Awards go to the first overall male and female winners; masters male and female; grand masters male and female; the top three male and female walkers; and top three finishers in each division of the race.

The registration fee is $20 and includes a T-shirt.

Runners can continue their already  enjoyable day by participating in another much loved tradition, the Annual Spring Street Festival.