WHEELING - The littlest residents of the Ohio Valley have a big opportunity to participate in the events of this weekend's Ogden Newspapers Half Marathon Classic.
Children ages 5 and under are invited to run the Ogden Tiny Tot Trot at 6:45 p.m. today on 14th Street in downtown Wheeling.
"It's so much fun to see the little ones coming down toward the finish line. Some families have been bringing their children since their oldest was a toddler and now are bringing their youngest to run. It has become a family tradition to kick off the summer," said Betsy Bethel, editor of OV Parent Magazine, which sponsors the Tot Trot.
The event is free. Families must register on site between 5 and 6:30 p.m. Each child receives a drawstring backpack filled with fun fitness-related and other items. Upon crossing the finish line, children are rewarded with a balloon and a "gold" medal.
In addition to the Tot Trot, today's events include the Torch Relay in honor of veterans; Ogden Fun Run, for children 12 and under; and Ogden Mile. Registration for all the races, including Saturday's half-marathon and 5K events, begins at 5 p.m. at 14th and Water streets near WesBanco Arena.
The Tot Trot registration tent is in a new location this year, on the sidewalk in front of the arena. Also new this year, several local agencies, businesses and organizations that serve children will have displays under the former Tot Trot tent, located on the grassy area between the arena and the main race registration tent.
- Veterans Torch Relay, starting at 4 p.m. in Elm Grove
- Ogden Tiny Tot Trot at 6:45 p.m. under the WesBanco skywalk on 14th Street
- Ogden Fun Run at 7:15 p.m. at the top of Wheeling Hill
- Ogden Mile at 7:30 p.m., also on Wheeling Hill
"We are pleased to have seven local groups set up to provide information and activities to families on Friday night," Bethel said.
Main sponsors for the Tot Trot this year are OV Parent, Covenant Community Church, Wheeling Country Day School, Easter Seals and Oglebay Institute. Groups setting up tables include Advocare; Catholic Charities-West Virginia; Children's Museum of the Ohio Valley; Ohio Valley Kids With Food Allergies; Scentsy by Jo-Anna Ramsay; West Virginia Birth to Three; and Women, Infant and Children.