"We Run For Fun"
February 26, 2017
For the past 24 years, the Joe Cain Classic Run has been the primary focus for the Bay Area Runners (BAR), who organizes and conducts the event. The BARs are a diverse group of men and women from all walks of life who’ve gotten together for the purposes of fun, fitness, fellowship and public service. There are nurses, customs agents, teachers, doctors, business owners, lawyers, construction workers, retirees, you name it, who are members of the BARs. Members are primarily from the Mobile Bay area of Mobile and Baldwin counties in Alabama.
Proceeds from the race consist of race entry fees and corporate sponsorships and are given to challenged athletes who deal with their handicaps through athletic endeavors. Past recipients have been the Mobile Patriots wheelchair basketball team, a local triathlete whose forearm was taken off by a shark while training, a wheelchair road racer, a cancer camp for kids known as Camp Rap-A-Hope, the Mobile Association of Retarded Citizens (MARC), the "Hammerheads" who are a group of disabled swimmers, "Rhapsody in Blue" stables which is a horse facility that provides therapeutic rides to people with disabilities, the Challenger League which is a baseball league for disabled children and the Baldwin County Special Olympics.
For the uninitiated, Joe Cain is credited with reviving the Mardi Gras celebration in Mobile after the civil war. In 1866, during the period when Mobile was still occupied by Union Forces and Mardi Gras celebrations were on hold, a group of gentlemen, led by Joseph Stillwell Cain, "borrowed" a coal wagon from a local business. Dressed in improvised costumes depicting a legendary Chickasaw Indian chief, Slacabamorinico (which was an insult because the Chickasaw Indians never surrendered to Union Forces), they paraded through the streets on Fat Tuesday, thereby reviving Mardi Gras, which has been observed in Mobile ever since. In 1968, Joe Cain Day was established as an all-inclusive street celebration that anyone is welcome to join. Joe Cain Day is celebrated on the Sunday before Fat Tuesday.
The race takes place on Joe Cain Day (the Sunday before Fat Tuesday) at 8:00 a.m. in Mobile, Alabama on one of the uglier racecourses a runner is likely to encounter. The out and back route goes past the jail and a scenic scrap yard before returning the runner to the start/finish line at the intersection of Canal and Broad streets near the Mobile Civic Auditorium. However, most people don’t mind the ugly course because, if you run the race, you get to go to the awesome post race party for which the race is famous. There’s live music, dancing in the street, food, door prizes, awards and a visit from Joe Cain’s famous and lovely Merry Widows, who travel the streets downtown on Joe Cain Day lending their charm and grace to citywide festivities all day long. Just walk a few blocks down South Broad Street to Augusta Street for the party. So come join the Bay Area Runners on Joe Cain Day to celebrate the Mardi Gras tradition “Mobile Style”, help out a deserving group of challenged athletes and join in one great party.
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