This Race Offers Fun For The Entire Family
By IAN HICKS
WHEELING — A mini-petting zoo. Free stuff. A chance to sprint off some energy — those are just a few of the reasons to bring the whole family to downtown Wheeling Saturday for the 41st annual Ogden Newspapers Half Marathon Classic.
In keeping with its tradition of promoting fun and fitness for all ages, the road race that serves as the unofficial kickoff to summer in Wheeling has plenty to offer children of all ages, including the always-popular Tiny Tot Trot and Fun Run.
The Tiny Tot Trot — a free, 100-yard-dash designed for younger children — includes two heats: one for 4- and 5-year-olds, and another for those 3 and younger. Registration is at 7:30 a.m., followed by the trot itself at 9 a.m. on Water Street.
All children who participate in the Tiny Tot Trot receive their very own ribbon to take home, and the first 150 children registered will receive a goody bag — a reusable drawstring nylon backpack filled with items, such as a fling ring, a color-change cup, a Superstar magnet and sunglasses.
“We invite families from all over to bring the little ones down to the waterfront Saturday morning for our annual Ogden Tiny Tot Trot and Fun Run,” said Betsy Bethel, editor of OV Parent magazine. “They can run off some of that energy in a safe, fun atmosphere that encourages fitness and learning.”
Pizza Hut is providing a coupon for a free personal pan pizza in each goody bag, and Mmm…Popcorn will have a popcorn stand set up, as well.
While waiting for the races to begin, children can pet small zoo animals from Oglebay Park’s Good Zoo, enjoy science activities with Robert and Libby Strong from SMART Centre Market and play games at the Children’s Museum of the Ohio Valley station. Pickles the Clown also will be on hand to make balloon animals.
Also taking place the morning of May 27 is the Fun Run — a non-competitive, 1-mile run for children 12 and younger on a course designed to give them the feel of running a “mini-marathon.” That event gets underway at 8:20 a.m., just after the start of the 5K races.
The course, which begins at the start/finish line at 14th and Main streets and ends on Water Street, is as follows:
∫ After launch, the runners will proceed east on 14th Street to Market Street, and continue on 14th Street up the hill. The route crosses Chapline Street on 14th and heads to Eoff Street, where it turns left, heading north on Eoff Street.
∫ Runners will follow Eoff Street to 11th Street west, and descend the hill next to the Wheeling YWCA, crossing Chapline Street and heading to Market Street.
∫ At Market Street, runners will turn right and travel north on Market Street to 10th Street, left on 10th to Main Street, and then left on Main Street south.
∫ The course then turns right on 11th Street, at the elephant sculpture at Heritage Port Gateway Park, then turns left onto Water Street. The course continues for 300 yards on Water Street before ending in front of Berry Supply Corp.
The Fun Run for many years was a strictly downhill sprint that covered the last mile of the half marathon, but Ogden Race Director R. “Scat” Scatterday said the new course, which got rave reviews in its debut last year, gives young runners a glimpse of the full half marathon course.
And while the old course forced families to choose whether to be at the start or finish of the Fun Run, the new route gives families the chance to see both.
“Having the family events Saturday morning, the same day as the half marathon and 5K, gives kids the feeling they’re part of something bigger,” Bethel added.
“Our aim is to inspire them to lead healthy lifestyles and maybe even become distance runners one day.”
Pre-registered Fun Run participants are guaranteed a T-shirt. Parents are encouraged to run with their children at no cost or pay $15 and also receive a T-shirt. Tiny Tot Trot T-shirts will be available for purchase while supplies last. Fun Run participants are guaranteed to receive a T-shirt.
Advance registration is open through May 15 at ogdenhalfmarathonclassic.com, by mail or in person at 1500 Main St., Wheeling.
In addition to OV Parent and Pizza Hut, sponsors for this year’s family events include Oglebay Institute, Ohio County Family Resource Network, Easter Seals and Covenant Community Church, along with the Children’s Museum, Paree Insurance and Wheeling Country Day School.
Competitive Ogden Half Marathon Classic events, all of which begin and end at 14th and Main streets, include the Half Marathon Walk, beginning at 7:30 a.m.; followed by the Half Marathon Run and Run Relay at 8 a.m.; and the 5K Run/Walk at 8:15 a.m.
Packet pickup and late registration will be available from noon to 6 p.m. on May 26 inside the Robert C. Byrd Intermodal Transportation Center. Packet pickup will begin at 6:30 a.m. on race day, May 27. Like the kids’ events, registration for all races is available at ogdenhalfmarathonclassic.com.