by Zachary Smith
arts & life editor
This past week we got a chance to sit down with John Sewell, Millsaps’ new communications director, to talk about his work with the Mississippi Blues Marathon. In 2008, Sewell began working with others to put together a marathon that would celebrate the unique culture in Mississippi that created the blues.
They originally planned the event for about 500 people, so when race day came they were surprised to find that 1,500 men and women had decided to come. They realized early on that it was not simply a marathon they were advertising for, it was a culture. They came up with the slogan: “Run the blues in the morning; crawl the blues in the night.” They added a Jackson bar crawl to the event with a live blues artist at each venue. The event has been going strong ever since its inception in 2008.
In our interview Sewell stressed the importance that the community plays in the marathon and what the marathon can do for the community at large. The race brings people from as far away as Kenya to the state and, as Sewell put it, “[the race] changes perceptions people have on Jackson, but also changes the way the people of Jackson feel about the city.” The race plays a valuable role to Jackson, in that it challenges preconceived notions that are so often thrust onto the city. Sewell says that the best way to see the race is to be a course martial.
Those interested can find details on how to sign up via the “Volunteer Here” section of the website: www.msbluesmarathon.com