WHEELING - Ogden Newspapers Half Marathon Run and Walk organizers are taking steps this year to remove the stress from race-day registration, allowing those participants to concentrate on competing to their fullest potential.
Race Director R. "Scat" Scatterday said for the first time this year, the registration tent will feature seven computer kiosks that will be open for late registrants on Friday evening and Saturday morning of race weekend.
Scatterday said a typical year sees about 400 people enter the race during that period, and it's not uncommon to see a few people enter after the starter's pistol has already fired.
This new feature, he noted, will speed up the registration process and immediately enter runners' information into the race timing system.
"This is just one more way to ensure accuracy. ... It's going to make it almost error-proof," Scatterday said.
Preparations for the 36th annual event are in the home stretch, with the 13.162-mile main event and 5K Run/Walk for Health set for Saturday and preliminary events including the Torch Relay, Ogden Mile, Ogden Fun Run and Tiny Tot Trot kicking things off the evening of Friday.
Pre-registered participants in the Half Marathon Run and Walk, 5K Run and Walk and Ogden Mile also are guaranteed to receive a Dri-Fit shirt, which provides an improvement in absorbency and ventilation over the T-shirts provided in past years. For late registrants, Scatterday said Dri-Fit shirts will be available on a first-come, first-served basis.
The annual Torch Relay honoring U.S. armed forces past and present begins at 4 p.m. Friday in Elm Grove and traverses the last 6 miles of the Half Marathon course. It is followed by the Ogden Tiny Tot Trot, sponsored by Ohio Valley Parent Magazine, and the Ogden Fun Run.
On Saturday, the Half Marathon Walk gets under way at 7:30 a.m., with the Half Marathon Run and Half Marathon Run Relay beginning at 8 a.m. and the 5K Run/Walk for Health at 8:15 a.m.
And as always, city of Wheeling employees have stepped up to make sure the race is not only enjoyable but safe, with Operations Director Tim Birch leading the way.
"All city personnel are ready," said Birch. "We've got this down to a science."
Scatterday noted the race is made possible each year through the hard work of its "experienced, competent and reliable" committee members whom he trusts to make sure everything is just right.
"My task on race day is to hand out water and just watch these guys do their thing," he said.