Time to train for the 2015 5K Blue & Gray

March 30, 2013 

Think about what we'll be doing on Easter Sunday two years from now.

Either on Easter Sunday 2015 or on April 16, 2015, a Thursday, as we may choose either to mark the 150th anniversary of the "Battle of Columbus," when on Easter 1865 Union Gen. James Wilson ordered a night assault on Confederate lines atop a hill off Summerville Road in what's now Phenix City.

Once the federals broke through, everyone charged toward the Franklin or 14th Street bridge, the only crossing left here after defenders torched the Dillingham Street bridge to prevent its capture.

The rebels, fearing they could not escape to Columbus if the feds captured the bridge, joined their enemies in the mad dash through the dark.

Like brothers in arms they ran together across the bridge into Columbus.

Somehow we must mark this historic moment.

"It's just so far out right now that no serious plans have been made," said Mike Bunn, director of the Historic Chattahoochee Commission. "There is a desire to see if we can do something special."

So this Easter column revives a Battle of Columbus commemorative concept I pitched years ago: The 5K Blue & Gray.

Run for it

Hardly a weekend passes without a 5-kilometer run for a cause: Color Me Rad, Girls Night Out, the Miss Georgia Pajama Run, Country's Midnight Express, and next Saturday's PAWS Humane Furry 5K.

So why not a Battle of Columbus road race to mark foes' joining forces to pursue a common goal?

In the waning days of the Civil War, it must have been an inspiration to see enemies set their differences aside and join together in what today is a celebrated sport.

We have much of what's needed for the 5K Blue & Gray: The staging area could be Garrett-Harrison stadium, from which runners race down Summerville Road to the 14th Street pedestrian bridge.

The race would have to be at night, so we'd need to light the route. And have a big fireworks display to signify the noise of battle.

It's only about 2 miles from the stadium to the bridge, so runners would have to keep going. Turning south on Broadway, in 1.1 miles they could hit a finish line at Ninth Street.

It would be a wonderful way to honor what in the midst of war truly was a shining example of enemies working together to reach their objective -- as fast as they could.

Tim Chitwood, tchitwood@ledger-enquirer.com, 706-571-8508.

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