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Cotton Row Run, Breakfast Cookoff brings community together on Memorial Day

Updated: May. 30, 2016 at 3:20 PM CDT
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The community gathered to cheer runners in the Cotton Row Run. (Source: WAFF)
The community gathered to cheer runners in the Cotton Row Run. (Source: WAFF)
Runners participated in the 2016 Cotton Row Run. (Source: WAFF)
Runners participated in the 2016 Cotton Row Run. (Source: WAFF)

HUNTSVILLE, AL (WAFF) - Memorial Day was a busy Monday for Huntsville, and before all the ceremonies began, the streets of Downtown Huntsville were lined with breakfast food trucks, and runners in the Cotton Row Run shut down the streets.

Thousands kicked off their Memorial Day by running through Downtown Huntsville in the Cotton Row Run and then running right over to get some breakfast from the food trucks at the Breakfast Cookoff.

"Well when you're running it the best part's crossing that finish line," said runner Paul Erickson.

Husband and wife duo Debbie and Pual Erickson helped plan Cotton Row, ran the race to celebrate freedom, and remember those who served our country.

"It's just been a tradition here on Memorial Day weekend and you'll see it's one of the largest races in Huntsville," Debbie said.

The Cotton Row Run is famous for "The Hill."

"The hill's the bad part but you know you get over it," Debbie said.

Debbie took up running as a way to fight Multiple Sclerosis when she was diagnosed.

"She never ceases to amaze me," said Paul. "As long as I've known her and been married to her, she's been a fighter, she's been strong. She didn't start running until she got MS and she said, 'MS isn't gonna beat me.'"

People lined the streets all morning long to cheer on people like Debbie and Paul.

"I think probably the coolest thing is all the residents that are on the streets we run along," said Paul. "They're out there, they're cheering they're doing their cowbells, they've put out water and sprinklers for us. It's a sense of community that Cotton Row brings and I've come from a bigger city and I've never seen this sense of community in a city this size. It's just amazing to me."

Whether it was running, food truck rallies, or memorial services, the message of the day was to celebrate so many brave men and
women.

"We're the home of the free," said Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle. "Because of the brave, we're the home of the free, and we'll see people today who have lost loved ones, who have lost family members, who have lost people who have done that ultimate fight just so we can have a great day like today"

You can see the results of the Cotton Row Run here.

For a list of more races like Cotton Row, you can click here or here.

Copyright 2016 WAFF. All rights reserved.