WHEELING - After months of planning for the 38th-annual Ogden Newspapers Half Marathon Classic in Wheeling, organizers have the finish line in their sights.
Race events are set for May 23-24 on the streets of Wheeling, with all proceeds to benefit the Wheeling Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 38's Shop with a Cop program for area children.
Although some impressive feats of endurance will be on display, you don't have to be a world-class athlete to enjoy yourself, according to Race Director R. "Scat" Scatterday. Whether you're looking for a physical challenge, to pay tribute to military veterans or simply want to enjoy some food and free entertainment, Wheeling's waterfront is the place to be on Memorial Day weekend.
FINAL PREP — Getting ready for the 38th-annual Ogden Newspapers Half Marathon Classic in Wheeling are race committee members, from left, Co-Race Director Shellie Higgins; Gina Holmes, physical therapy/massage coordinator; Kathy Fugate, in charge of registration; Betsy Bethel, Tiny Tot Trot coordinator; finish line coordinator Robin Weltner; John Ford, sponsor liaison; Race Director R. “Scat” Scatterday; finish line coordinator Cindy Kotsch; Michelle Rejonis, race assistant; runner representative Steve Habursky; and Co-Race Director Tim Birch. -- Staff Photo
"It's a weekend filled with a lot of options that is very family - and community-oriented," Scatterday said.
Friday will feature all the familiar events - including the 6-mile veterans' Torch Relay from Elm Grove to the finish line at 4 p.m., the Ogden Tiny Tot Trot for children 5 and under beneath the WesBanco skywalk at 14th and Main streets at 6:45 p.m., the Ogden Fun Run for children 12 and under at 7:15 p.m. and the Ogden Mile at 7:30 p.m.
But new this year is a special, free concert at Heritage Port set for 7:45 p.m. May 23 to honor America's military veterans, with special recognition given to World War II and Korean War veterans. The Allegheny Brass Band will be on hand until 9 p.m. to play patriotic music and welcome in summer.
Scatterday said the plan is to have a Marine in dress blues individually salute each man as his name is called.
"They've never been acknowledged," Scatterday said of many World War II and Korean veterans, recalling a recent conversation with a man who had served on an aircraft carrier.
When planes crashed on the deck, it was his job to jump into the burning wreckage and rescue the pilot.
"There's not a lot of people in their right minds that would ever do that, and he just did it," Scatterday said.
Registration for the 38th-annual race will be open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Friday at the Robert C. Byrd Intermodal Transportation Center on Main Street. There will be no Saturday registration, but participants may pick up their packets beginning at 6:15 a.m., also at the intermodal center.
Runners and walkers also can register online at www.ogdenhalfmarathonclassic.com.
Start times for Saturday's events include the Half Marathon Walk at 7:30 a.m., the Half Marathon Run and Run Relay at 8 a.m. and the 5K Run and Walk for Health at 8:15 a.m. All finishers of Half Marathon events will receive a medal, and all Half Marathon run finishers will receive a "13.1" decal that can be displayed on their vehicles.
Ohio Valley Medical Center and That's the Spot Massage will be on hand at the finish line to help participants recover from what's become known as one of the Tri-State Area's most challenging road races.
In terms of security, returning participants and spectators from last year will notice a few changes. There will no longer be a barricaded "safety zone" and, unlike last year, items such as backpacks and baby carriages will be allowed at the finish line area.
But Scatterday said there will be plenty of police on hand, both uniformed and plainclothes, and those in the area of the finish line will be subject to search.
"They will be less intrusive, less inconvenient, but every bit as adequate," Scatterday said of the race day security measures.
This year's partnership with the FOP's Shop with a Cop program marks the fifth year the Ogden race has donated its proceeds to a local charitable cause that benefits the region's youth. In previous years, race proceeds went to the Augusta Levy Learning Center, the Miracle Field of the Ohio Valley and the Howard Corcoran Scholarship Fund through the Super Six Committee.