The “voice” of Cotton Row Run honors service members in annual 10k

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - The Cotton Row Run made its way back to the Rocket City for the 38th time Monday, with nearly 4,000 participants from all over the world.

At the Memorial Day tradition, there's one thing you can always count on hearing and that's Wayne Smith. He has a special role to play during the cotton row run.

"They would say, 'You're the voice of Cotton Row, aren't you?'," said Smith.

Since 1980, when the run started as just a 10k, he's been the announcer.

Smith says he looks forward to seeing the same runners year after year and the generations coming after them.

"They will tell me, 'I want you to meet my son or daughter' something of this nature and I come to find out that they ran their first cotton row at that same age," said Smith.

He says he's on pins and needles before the race begins, but he knows his team will make it start with a bang.

All good things though, come to an end.

"This is the last year people will be hearing the voice of Cotton Row because I'm retiring from the job this year," said Smith.

Smith says its time for someone else to be "the voice" here and see the the new generations breaking records.

One thing he knows will never change? The meaning behind this race.

"Without all those people who have served and died for this country, that we wouldn't be doing this," said Smith.

And his advice for the next in line?

"Just try to do the job and the next voice, do a better job than what I did, will ya?"