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Registration now open for 2024 Tuscaloosa Mayor’s Cup 5k for Pre-K


Tuscaloosa residents are preparing for a run that will support the city’s preschool education. Registration is currently open for the annual Tuscaloosa Mayor’s Cup 5K for Pre-K, which is also referred to as the Mayor’s Cup.

Current Tuscaloosa Mayor Walt Maddox created the 5K run in 2007 to help support the Tuscaloosa Pre-K Initiative, which aims to expand Pre-K access for children in the Druid City.

“The Pre-K initiative was created around 2006 when we took office to try to enhance and expand Pre-K in Tuscaloosa,” Maddox said. “Since that time, we've nearly been able to establish universal Pre-K, in partnership with the city school system, and also beyond just the Mayor's Cup and elevate Tuscaloosa. So, our goal is to ensure, at a minimum, every at-risk child has an opportunity to quality Pre-K within the Tuscaloosa State School System,” Maddox said.

The mayor also said that statewide, many preschool aged children are disadvantaged.

“The issue that we run into, not just Tuscaloosa but in our entire state, is that we have so many of our children who come in with so many disadvantages,” he explained. “Whether those are healthcare advantages, coming from a home that you may have a parent or parents that are working two jobs, they're not able to come in with the skills necessary to begin in kindergarten, ready to learn.”

Maddox also said reading on grade level is important and that the foundational skills for it begin during preschool years.

“We know if you're not reading on grade level by third grade there's a nearly 80% chance that you will not graduate high school. We need you reading to learn, instead of learning to read, by the time you enter fourth grade,” he explained. “But it all really begins when your mind is in those ages of three, four and five. So, we created the Tuscaloosa Pre-K Initiative. It certainly opened the door for all of our four-year-olds across Tuscaloosa to have an opportunity to go be in a classroom environment with a certified classroom teacher within the Tuscaloosa City Schools.”

Maddox said the initiative has been able to provide funding for Pre-K and bring awareness to the issues surrounding it to legislators.

“Right now, in Alabama, the K-12 is considered the model, and that is what's funded through Alabama's Foundation Program. Pre-K is something that is optional,” Maddox said. “We're bringing awareness to this issue. It helps to ensure support with our Board of Education, city council and really our state-elected leaders who have been very good in helping us find some state funding to continue that support for Pre-K.”

Maddox said that the Mayor’s Cup is a popular and competitive event for Tuscaloosa residents.

“Last year, we had nearly 2,000 people participate. It is very competitive, which I think is outstanding,” he said. “We have everyone who wants to run it in 15 minutes to people who just want to walk the race and under an hour. What makes the Mayor's Cup so great is everyone is welcome, and everyone gets to celebrate Tuscaloosa.”

Early bird registration pricing for the 2024 Mayor’s Cup is $20 until the end of
February. After that, the price will go up to $25.

The run will take place on April 27 in downtown Tuscaloosa. For more information, visit the official website here.

Andrea Tinker is a student intern at Alabama Public Radio. She is majoring in News Media with a minor in African American Studies at The University of Alabama. In her free time, Andrea loves to listen to all types of music, spending time with family, and reading about anything pop culture related.

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