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2021 Cotton Row Run

The 41st annual event was held on Monday for the first time since 2019, after getting canceled last year.
Credit: Jonah Karp

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — The Cotton Row Run is an event that’s typically scheduled on Memorial Day. This year it was pushed to Labor Day as the city continues to battle COVID. After last year’s cancellation, the 41st iteration of the annual race was back in action on Monday, for the first time since 2019.

“I probably first ran this race around 2004, I think,” said Eric Fritz, the President of the Huntsville Track Club. “And I’ve run it almost every year since then.”

“We didn’t make the decision to do this until May, so we had to do it in a rather quick fashion,” said Donna Palumbo, the Race Director.

“Being on Labor Day instead of Memorial Day, you get different people taking vacation at different times,” said Fritz. “So, your volunteer base is, 50 percent of our volunteer base is different than it usually was.”

One of the most prominent features of the event is Ainsley’s Angels, the organization that allows those with physical limitations to participate in the race.

“Equality is the best feeling. I’m really happy that everyone else can get out and do it as well,” said Shannon Green, one of the Angels. “Like I said, it’s just all about the equality and getting them out here. Whether they’re the smallest disability or the biggest disability.”

“I just want to thank Ainsley’s Angels for doing this,” said Liz Lopez. “I love to run and this is the second time I can run with my son [Sebastian] and doing the thing I love to do with my son is amazing. Thank you so much.”

Inclusivity on full display; one of the many things that makes the Cotton Row Run a special and integral part of the Huntsville community, back from hiatus with the same infectious spirit that’s remained intact through four decades.