PARKERSBURG, W.Va. — Preparations for the Parkersburg News and Sentinel Races are underway.
Chip Allman, race director, said this year’s half marathon will miss last year’s winners, Buze Diriba, of Ethiopia, and Kimutai Cheruiyot, Kenya.
Allman said Cheruiyot, last year’s overall winner of the half marathon, was not able to get his Visa in time, and Diriba, the women’s division winner, was not able to participate due to an injury.
Allman said there are several others returning for the 2016 edition of the race.
“The runner who won the race four years in a row and owns the course record, Julius Kogo, will be here,” he said. “He missed last year because he could not get a Visa.”
This year’s race has been sanctioned by the Road Runners Club of America as the national championship half marathon for the second year in a row. This year’s two-mile race is the RRCA West Virginia Championship.
“In 2015 we were Race of the Year,” he said. “That’s among races across the country.”
Allman said organizers are expecting about 1,000 to 1,100 entrants for the half marathon and that many for the two-mile race.
“We do have 40 elite caliber runners in the field this year,” he said. “That includes master and grand masters, men and women.”
This year’s News and Sentinel Half Marathon will begin at 8 a.m. Saturday at Third and Juliana streets at the Towne Square Parking Garage and the finish line will be at Sixth and Market streets. Wheelchair racers will begin at 7:50 a.m.
For the two-mile race, which is the state championship race, the starting line will be the same as for the half marathon at 8:10 a.m.
Awards for the half marathon will be presented at 1:30 p.m. in the Smoot Theatre, 213 Fifth St., and the two-mile race awards will be presented at 10:30 a.m. in Bicentennial Park next to The Blennerhassett Hotel.
On Sunday the junior races and Tiny Tot Trot will be age and gender based races for children 11 years of age and younger. The Tiny Tot Trot is for children 5 and younger and Junior Races are for children ages 6 to 11.
Both races will take place at the Parkersburg High School Stadium Field at 1 p.m. Registration for the races will begin at 11:30 a.m. and end just prior to the start of the races.