Race Is Again Partnering With Wheeling YMCA
By IAN HICKS
WHEELING — The Ogden Newspapers Half Marathon Classic once again is partnering with the J.B. Chambers YMCA to improve the lives of local youth.
Event organizers have announced proceeds from this year’s 41st running of the Ogden race — set for May 27 on the streets of Wheeling — will benefit the YMCA. It marks the second straight year the race has chosen to contribute to the organization, which offers a vast array of programs benefiting everyone from infants to the elderly in the Ohio Valley.
“Certainly it’s very much appreciated by the YMCA, the board of directors and staff,” Jamie Bordas, president of the local YMCA’s board, said. “It helps us provide services for the entire community.”
Last year, the Ogden race presented YMCA officials with a check for $20,000. Adam Shinsky, executive director of the YMCA, said the donation was a huge boost for an organization that has seen an increase in demand for its programs — as well as for financial aid for those programs.
According to Shinsky, an estimated 25,000 people in Ohio, Marshall, Brooke, Belmont and Jefferson counties — and even in Washington County, Pa. — take advantage of the J.B. Chambers YMCA’s programs each year.
Shinsky said of the almost 500 participants in the YMCA’s winter basketball league this year, 25-30 percent require some form of financial assistance. When it comes to the YMCA’s popular summer camps — which are a bit more expensive — that figure jumps to about 50 percent, he said.
“The funds from the Ogden (in 2016) went a long way to provide services for everybody, because we don’t turn anybody away,” Shinsky said.
Perry Nardo, general manager of The Intelligencer and Wheeling News-Register, said the partnership between the race and the YMCA is a natural one.
“The needs of the Wheeling YMCA and the number of people and families the organization impacts on a daily basis made our decision to name the YMCA the benefactor of this year’s race an easy one,” Nardo said. “The Ogden Half Marathon is committed to making the Ohio Valley a better place, and no organization mirrors our mission statement any better than the Y.”
Race Director R. “Scat” Scatterday agreed, saying it is a privilege to donate to the YMCA and that he wants all runners and walkers to know that a portion of their entry fee will benefit this worthy cause.
“There are numerous agencies that support various aspects of our local community. The YMCA has an exceptional record with respect to supporting youth recreation in Wheeling,” Scatterday said. “They actually take the funds that they get and add to it and become a super supporter of people in the area.”
Bordas said the decision by Ogden race organizers to partner with the YMCA for the second consecutive year speaks to the organization’s positive impact on the community. He added the race and the YMCA strive toward very similar goals.
“They both promote healthy lifestyles, and also fun,” Bordas said. “When you take those things together, it’s certainly a natural fit.”
Shinsky cited a recent study which ranked West Virginia as the “unhealthiest and unhappiest state” in the nation. That, he believes, makes the YMCA’s mission more crucial than ever.
“Our goal right now is to provide two new programs a month that we’ve never done,” he said.
According to Shinsky, examples of programs the YMCA’s recently launched include expanded child care offerings, new partnerships with the Miracle League of the Ohio Valley — also a two-time Ogden race recipient — and a weight-loss challenge for Ohio County Schools staff.
Bordas said the YMCA was an important part of his life growing up, and that’s why he’s chosen to devote so much of his time and energy to the organization.
“It provides a safe place, a good place, for kids in this area to be able to do the right things,” he said, adding the children who benefit from the YMCA’s programs are better-positioned to contribute positively to society in adulthood.
And although youth sports are what often come to mind when many think of the YMCA, Shinsky said the organization does so much more. For example, he said, the YMCA often holds fundraisers for area residents battling serious illnesses.
Since 2010, the Ogden race has handed out a total of more than $120,000 to local charitable causes, including last year’s donation to the YMCA. Previous recipients also have included the Miracle League, the Super Six Committee’s Howard Corcoran scholarship fund, the Augusta Levy Learning Center, Ohio Valley Breast Cancer Awareness Inc. and the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 38’s “Shop with a Cop” program, now known as “Kids and Cops.”
Race events will take place on a single day, Saturday, again this year. Scatterday said there will be few changes from last year, although there are plans to expand the children’s activities that take place the morning of the race.
The Half Marathon Walk begins at 7:30 a.m. Saturday, followed by the Half Marathon Run and Run Relay at 8 a.m., at 14th and Main streets. The 5K Run and Walk steps off at 8:15 a.m.
The non-competitive, mile-long Fun Run begins at 8:20 a.m. at the Half Marathon start/finish line and ends on Water Street in front of Berry Supply.
The Tiny Tot Trot for children ages 5 and younger, sponsored by Ohio Valley Parent, begins at 9 a.m. on Water Street, and will cover 100 yards. There is no entry fee for this event.
Online registration is available at ogdenhalfmarathonclassic.com.