Expo Is Newest Addition
By SHAWN RINE
WHEELING — One of the difficulties with running an event as long as Ron Green has, is keeping it fresh so that veteran participants keep coming back and news ones want to join. When you reach 20 years, as the Debbie Green 5K Run/Walk for Leukemia will this year, the task of revamping becomes exponentially more difficult,
”That has always been a challenge for me,” Green said. ”Every year we’re thinking of something different. Not every year the (entry) numbers go up … they fluctuate.
”There has been a recent downturn in road racing — there’s less races and people are not going as much.”
Though it may be difficult to do, Green has found a way to spruce up the weekend. A two-day event called the Health and Fitness Expo will be held inside WesBanco Arena from 4-9 p.m. on Friday and 11-7 on Saturday, and it’s open to the public and offers free admission.
”It’s something that is going to be very unique, and it’s something that I have wanted to do for five or six years,” Green said. ”I went to the Pittsburgh Marathon Expo at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center and thought, ‘why can’t we do this?’
”If I can bring 5,000 people into the arena, which with the remodeling they have done looks great, that would be amazing.”
Green says race participants, their families, race fans and fitness enthusiasts will be in the building. There will be products, goods and services consistent with the latest running and walking apparel and the fitness industry.
”We got a chance to sell our event in the Pittsburgh market and a lot of people have signed up from that area,” Green said. ”We will have registration and packet pickup in the arena, as well as the awards ceremony on Saturday.
”There will be vendors, as well as giveaways to Seven Springs Mountain Resort and Grand Vue Park.”
Also included at the Expo will be local and regional running and walking clubs, gyms and fitness clubs, hospitals, health and wellness-focused businesses and civic organizations.
”We will have a DJ playing music inside the arena and people can come in, shop and pick up their apparel,” Green said. ”There will be raffle tickets including for a $500 gift card tree.
”You don’t have to run in the race to qualify to win.”
Green said his sister, Debbie, would be proud of what the weekend has become.
”I think she would be smiling and very happy,” he said. ”She never had an enemy. Everybody loved her.
”Everybody loved her and she loved everyone.”