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Wellsburg 5K race has storied past

By John L. Davis, The Brooke County Review

WELLSBURG, W.Va. — The Wellsburg Fourth of July 5K traces its roots to the Wellsburg Town Run of the early 1970s. Back then, a running “boom” was sweeping the United States on the heels of Frank Shorter’s inspiring victory in the 1972 Olympic Games marathon. Countless Americans of all ages embraced the new fitness culture, bought running shoes, and started getting in shape. The Town Run attracted participants from throughout the tri-state area. It became quite a spectacle, featuring as many as 250 runners.

In the beginning, the Town Run was billed as a 3-mile event (it was actually 41 yards longer than 3 miles). The race was notorious for the years it was inadvertently shortened by lead vehicles that made wrong turns in south Wellsburg. Sometimes the race was just a bit more than 2.8 miles. The course was lengthened in the 1980s to the traditional metric distance, 5 kilometers (3.1 miles). However, the event still had a reputation for wrong turns and incorrect start lines. The course was accurately measured and marked for the 2001 race. Since then, the event has been properly staged except in 2022 when the course was shortened to an indeterminate distance.

Carl Hatfield, a Matewan native and two-time All-American at WVU, was among the nation’s best runners from the late 1960s through the early 1980s. He won six Wellsburg Town Run titles in the 1970s. 

Read more: https://www.brookereview.com/2024/06/20/wellsburg-5k-race-has-storied-past/

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