WHEELING - In keeping with its focus on family and on enhancing the quality of life in the Ohio Valley, the Ogden Newspapers Half Marathon Classic Run and Walk will again this year lend financial support to the Miracle League of the Ohio Valley.
The Half Marathon's 36th running, scheduled for Saturday, will donate all proceeds to the ongoing effort to build a Miracle Field for special needs children at the J.B. Chambers Youth Sports Complex in Wheeling. This marks the third consecutive year the Ogden race has supported a local charitable cause, and the second time it has donated to the Miracle Field.
In 2010, the race donated $17,000 to the Miracle League. Last year, the proceeds - $15,000 - went to the Super Six Committee to fund a scholarship for student-athletes in the memory of late former Ogden race director Howard Corcoran.
Perry Nardo, general manager of The Intelligencer and Wheeling News-Register, said he is pleased the newspapers will again assist a local community endeavor with the proceeds of the Ogden Half Marathon Classic.
"I am very happy that we will be able to donate the proceeds of this year's race to the Miracle League Foundation, and I hope that our contribution will allow the foundation to complete some of the off-field projects they have planned," Nardo said.
"This is the third year that the race proceeds will be donated to a local cause, and I would like to thank our sponsors and the runners whose generosity and participation have allowed us to give more than $32,000 over the past two years to the Miracle League and also to the Super Six Committee for the Howard Corcoran Scholarship fund."
Local officials broke ground on the $800,000 Miracle Field last fall. The field is expected to be ready for use this summer.
The focus now is on raising enough money for amenities such as handicapped-accessible restrooms and concessions stands that will make the Miracle Field a venue fit for All-Stars.
"Our motivation is to help them with the final push for the funds they need for the project," said Ogden race Director R. "Scat" Scatterday.
The Easter Seals Rehabilitation Center in Wheeling has led fundraising for the field. Lori Untch, president and chief executive officer of the center, said she is incredibly grateful for the Ogden race's continued support.
"It's really a great opportunity for the community to support both the city and the Ogden race and the Miracle Field at the same time," said Untch. "We're thrilled and honored that they picked us again."
Scatterday added the race in recent years has focused on evolving from an athletic competition on a Saturday morning into a true community event.
"Being consistent with that, helping such an outstanding project as the Miracle Field was a natural thing to do," he said.
"While we have a lot of opportunities to support the community in many quality ways, one thing that makes the Miracle Field unique is that when it's completed, we will hear children say for the first time in their lives, 'I made it to first base.'"
The project began more than four years ago as the dream of Wheeling resident Lorraine McCardle, whose son Austin, now 10, suffers from a nervous system disorder that requires him to use a walker.
He is one of more than 65 members of the local Miracle League team.
and participating families eagerly anticipate the day when they no longer will have to travel to Miracle Fields in Morgantown and Zanesville to play ball.
Scatterday said McCardle and Untch "are to be commended on their persistence and commitment to see this project through from beginning to end," as well as all those throughout the Ohio Valley who have given not only their money but their time to the Miracle Field.
Untch said construction crews made significant progress on Phase One of the project before poor weather conditions forced them to pause for the winter, including site clearing, pouring the foundation for the field and constructing its dugouts. The next step, she said, will be to extend a waterline to the site and perform electrical work, and the Easter Seals board is in the process of seeking bids for Phase Two of the project, which includes the restrooms and concession stand.