Over 350 runners came out on a beautiful Saturday morning to compete in the 2023 Steel Magnolia Run Saturday, March 18 held in beautiful downtown Natchitoches. This year’s edition of the popular event featured a course taking runners through our picturesque city. Runners had a choice of a one mile “fun run” or a 5K race.
This event, in its fifth year and sponsored by the Natchitoches Regional Medical Center Foundation, was more than a chance for fun and competition. The race is a major fundraiser for the NRMC Foundation’s various initiatives to improve the health of the parish’s citizens. This year’s race is raising funds to purchase a PET scanner for the NRMC Cancer Center.
The Steel Magnolia Run has become more widely known outside of the local area. A group of military spouses from Fort Polk ran the race in St. Patrick’s Day costumes. The US Army Recruiting Battalion for our area also made a strong showing with several soldiers completing the 5K run. The command team of LTC Adam Marsh and CSM Jeremy Barbaresi ran the course in boots, uniform, and body armor. There were also runners from Lafayette and Alexandria in attendance.
The annual race is a true community effort. The Natchitoches police department directed traffic and ensured a safe environment for the runners. The NSU Soccer team cheered on the runners as they began the race and again as they finished. Scout Troop 160 from Stonewall presented the colors before the race. NRMC paramedics were on standby in case of need. Ms. Lauren Uram, a third-year medical student from the VCOM Medical School in Monroe, graciously volunteered to be “Pacey”, the armadillo mascot of the race.
One notable feature of the Steel Magnolia Race is that the top trophies are pieces of art! NSU Assistant Professor of Art, Corbin Covher, sculpted the awards for the top male and female runners. His handcrafted trophies helped make the race a special experience. The NRMC Foundation makes our community a better place. Let us help them as they help us!
The Natchitoches Parish Journal is donating the event photography. The gallery is unlocked, and downloads are enabled. We do ask that should you find a photo you like, please consider a donation to the NRMC Foundation in lieu of payment. We would also like to extend our best wishes to Ms. Uram as she pursues her medical studies.