MCHD Cannon Team marks anniversary at Azalea Trail Run 03.25.2023

March 25, 2023

MCHD Cannon Team marks anniversary at Azalea Trail Run

MOBILE, Alabama — The Mobile County Health Department’s Cannon Team reached a milestone Saturday morning as they served as the official starters for the 45th annual Azalea Trail Run’s 10-kilometer and 5-kilometer events.

It was in 2016 that Dr. Bernard H. Eichold II, former Health Officer for Mobile County, began an initiative called “Declaring War on Physical Inactivity.” He pointed out that Alabama has one of the highest percentages of obesity in America.

In an effort to encourage local residents to go outside and enjoy our beautiful surroundings while exercising, Dr. Eichold arranged to borrow a Civil War re-enactment cannon to serve as the “starting gun” for the Azalea Trail Run that year. The response was so positive that Dr. Eichold acquired funds to purchase our own weapon to battle obesity. Dr. Kevin Philip Michaels, who assumed the position of Health Officer in 2022, has continued to support the mission.

The Lyle Line-Throwing Cannon, which has a 2.5-inch-diameter barrel, was manufactured in the early 1900s by Coston. It is not a replica, reproduction, or toy. The cannon was designed to fire a projectile attached to a rope to a boat or a victim in distress. Now it is used to inspire those seeking a healthier lifestyle.

Derrick Scott supervises a team of MCHD employees that has been trained to safely use the device. Joining him on Saturday were Dana Burroughs (who fired the cannon for the 10K race), Patricia Suggs (who fired the cannon for the 5K race), James Currie, Edward Franklin, Roxanne Lee, William Taylor and Henry Wright.

Any other groups interested in having the MCHD Cannon Team attend their event should contact the Office of Communications by calling 251-690-8823 or via email at