Living Democracy

Challenging 5-K brings runners to Collinsville

On a warm and rainy Saturday, runners flocked to downtown Collinsville to run the newly renamed Hallin’ Up the Gap 5K Challenge, hosted by the Collinsville Public Library as one of their biggest fundraisers for the year.

This the fourth year for the fundraiser race, and the first time it has been held in June. The race was originally part of a century-old Collinsville tradition, Turkey Trot, a festival held every November.

For future years, the race will stay in either May or June. The course provides challenging terrain and scenic views

This Hallin’ Up the Gap 5K draws in runners from all over the area because of the unique challenge the course presents. Runners face a 600-foot elevation during this professionally timed race.

The course for this race is uphill for slightly over half of the race, as runners trace switchbacks up the side of Hall’s Gap. Once they reach the turnaround point at the top, this year manned by the Collinsville Rescue Squad, the rest is a downhill pace.

“Running the switchbacks, whether with the incredible beauty in the fall or now in June, is gorgeous,” said Jennifer Wilkins, head librarian for Collinsville Public Library.

Jim Upton, a runner from Albertville, said, “I run races across the country, from Boston to San Diego, but this one I’m doing because it’s so interesting.”

While quite a few runners were from the Collinsville area, word even spread as far as Birmingham to draw in runners.

Cindy Duke drove over from Birmingham the morning of the race.  She said, “It looked so different from any other course that I’ve run. Even if I have to walk the whole first half, it’ll be beautiful scenery.”

Along with being professionally timed, the race also awarded prizes. The top male and female winners won plaques, and the top three in each of multiple age categories received a medal. All 27 participants received a t-shirt at sign-up.

The top male finisher was Adrian Gonzalez with a time of 22:39, and the top female finisher was Maggy Parez with a time of 28:13.

The race begins and ends on Main Street, in the heart of downtown Collinsville. The run brings locals and outsiders together, an important union the library is happy to help oversee, Wilkins said.

“It’s a fundraiser, but it’s getting people to Collinsville to see what we have,” she added.

As with most races, weather can play a factor in attendance. This race is still fairly young, and its attendance has fluctuated based on weather. When racers showed up this year, it was pouring rain, but the storms cleared during the duration of the run.

The group of competitors seems to grow each year, and organizers expect it to grow in the future. “I’d liked to get to the goal of 100 runners and see where that can take us,” Wilkins said.

Last Updated: June 10, 2019