I consider Parkersburg to be my second home, due to the many years I have been coming to compete in two top distance running races, The Chik fil A 10k (formally the Mountain State Classic) and the News and Sentinel Half Marathon. Injuries have kept me from these races and the 10k for the last nine years, but last Saturday, thanks to my great physical therapist and coach, Jon Plush, director of Cornerstone PT Newark, Ohio, I was able to come back home to Parkersburg. What a fabulous race experience I had, largely due to race director Chip Allman and his incredible volunteers, many from the River City Runners and Walkers Club.
I don't know if those who live in Parkersburg realize how outstanding this race is compared to most others these days. The start began with a wonderful choir that sang the "Star Spangled Banner." The course was accurate according to the USA Track and Field Standards and carefully laid out with fabulous traffic control. There were ample aid stations and the volunteers carefully handed out water and Gatorade. At the finish, athletes heard their names announced as they crossed the finish line and Chik fil A provided all with a meal. Awards were ample and generous and all got a nice technical T-shirt. The race had everything an athlete could want and more and was a welcome experience compared to many other races these days that don't have accurate, safe courses or enough water, let along a meal, etc.
As a health professor, it was wonderful to see the kids races as well, promoting fitness, walking and running to our younger generation at a time when obesity and sedentary living is an epidemic. Bravo! I hope my healing continues to that I can return in August and run in the News and Sentinel Half Marathon.