Grand Prix Series Begins in Valley

Editor’s Note: George Frazier, manager at CentreTown Fitness in Wheeling, and his staff will be providing a series of training articles leading up to the 38th annual Ogden Newspapers Half Marathon Classic, scheduled for May 24 in Wheeling.

The Ogden Half Marathon Classic Run and Walk, set for May 24 in Wheeling, is one of the premier events in the newly formed Ohio Valley Grand Prix Series. The Ohio Valley Grand Prix Series was established three years ago to unite all of the area community road races to serve a common cause and to provide an incentive for participation.

The grand prix consists of an advisory board with representation from a few local businesses interested in the health and well being of people in the Ohio Valley. The local businesses invested in promoting this series are The Health Plan, CentreTown Fitness/Ohio Valley Medical Center, Hole-n-Run, Undo’s, the Ogden Newspapers, Main Street Bank and the Ohio Valley Runner’s/Walker’s Club.

The two main objectives of the Ohio Valley Grand Prix Series are to get people off their couches, computers, cell phones, etc., to become more physically active thus promoting a more healthy lifestyle and to provide a point system for each event that accumulates over the course of the road race season.

Runners and walkers, who have registered in the grand prix series, will earn participation points for each event they take part in and could earn competition points for placing in the top 10 of their respective age groups. There is no signup fee to register for the Ohio Valley Grand Prix Series. Participants must go on-line to the grand prix website,, and register as a walker or runner, proper age group category based on birth date and select the events they plan to participate in during the road race season. A complete explanation of the point system is documented on the website plus the race calendar.

The Ohio Valley Grand Prix Series does not govern or micro-manage the various community road races. Each race director is responsible for all aspects of their event. The grand prix is a point gathering organization for each event in the series.

Another benefit of the Ohio Valley Grand Prix Series is that almost every local community road race that is part of the series supports a local charity or cause that will benefit from increased participation in their particular event. For example, this year’s Ogden Half Marathon proceeds will Wheeling FOP Lodge 38 and its Shop with a Cop program.

One of the bigger benefits of the Ogden Half Marathon is that it is a Tier 2 event, which means the points earned for participation and competition are doubled. There are only five events all season that carry that prestige for the runners and walkers. The Ogden 5K Run or Walk is a Tier 1 event and part of the grand prix series.

Upon completion of the entire road race season/grand prix series, points are tallied and overall winners and age group winners in every category are determined and posted on the website for both the runners and walkers. In order to win a Grand Prix award in competition, the competitor must have accumulated 10 participation points. An individual can win an award in both categories if they registered in both running and walking and have 10 participation points in each category. In the event of a tie, the individual with the most overall competition points will be the winner. All awards will be presented at an annual “Taking Strides Toward Better Health” Grand Prix banquet held in early January. Each participant that earns at least 10 participation points is invited to the annual banquet at no charge and will receive a special commemorative t-shirt, compliments of the Hole-n-Run.

The Ogden races are a crucial part of the Ohio Valley Grand Prix Series and a great kick-off to the summer season. I highly recommend participation in one of these Memorial Day weekend races. You will be glad you participated and hopefully enjoy the benefits of a healthier lifestyle.