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Smith: The race was a success thanks to the efforts of hundreds | News, Sports, Jobs

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A little bit of normalcy returned to the streets of Parkersburg last Saturday. After a hiatus of almost 1,100 days, The News and the Sentinel Half Marathon and Two-Mile Race are back on the downtown streets.

As business people, school teachers or shop owners say, it’s hard to restart anything after a global pandemic. .

Of course, the people of Parkersburg rose to the occasion. Little did I know when I left the course on August 17, 2019, the start of the pandemic was just months away. Due to COVID-19, almost everything has been canceled including road runs.

This year’s race was more difficult to start than the others. Things that used to seem commonplace, like finish line paint, are suddenly hard to come by. A dedicated group of volunteers fixed the problem in his chain of supplies and finally it all came together.

Volunteers came in various forms this year. 1100 days is a long time. Many people have moved. Some simply moved in after years of volunteering. Our core group was smaller than before. A group of brave volunteers pulled it off and got the job done. Many of you may have felt like you were running a marathon by the time you finished.

The News and Sentinel are the lead sponsors of the race, but we’re not the only ones. Organizations like Highmark West Virginia contribute to the race both financially and voluntarily. Kuraray donates and dispatches a large number of employee volunteers.

The City of Parkersburg supports the race in so many ways that it would be nearly impossible to do the event without them.The City supports us on the 15 miles of road used by the two races Along with the Wood County Sheriff’s Department and the West Virginia State Police, we also provide security for the entire route. In addition, we heard registration of city hall second floor part. Mayor Tom Joyce served as the official starter for both races.

The City of Parkersburg is the ideal partner for racing.

Without participants, the race never happens. It was great to see hundreds of people on Third Street and Juliana Street ready to revive the Parkersburg tradition last Saturday morning. As the runners and walkers began their journey down the street, I stood beneath a giant American flag suspended between two equally sized fire trucks.

After the race started, we went to the first water stop hosted by a DuPont employee near US 50 on the ramp. I just sat and watched the racers begin the long climb up the first major hill. Everything looked normal again.

An hour or so later, I stood at the finish line and watched Ohio University alumnus Josh Park cross the finish line and win the race. Less than ten minutes later, former Fort Frycadet Sarah Bir crossed the finish line to win the women’s division.

Both winners had deep ties to the region. They represented the region well, but so did hundreds of other racers.

There is no such thing as an easy half marathon. This one was a little more difficult to pull off than many others.

But difficult is good. It makes us all stronger.

Markdown August 19, 2023. Start training and make the 2023 edition of The News and the Sentinel Half Marathon the greatest race ever.

Art Smith is co-director of The News and Sentinel Races, and online manager of The Parkersburg News, Sentinel and The Marietta Times.

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