COMPETITORS, take your mark.
And with that, the 36th Annual Ogden Newspapers Half Marathon Classic will commence.
The distance extravaganza has blossomed into a rite of summer in the Ohio Valley, more precisely Memorial Day Weekend. The classic brings with it countless entrants, spectators and well-wishers to the Ohio Valley.
The race has aged gracefully over nearly four decades. In its infancy, it was simply a distance race, one of the most demanding 12.4-mile courses in the nation, challenging champion and novice entrants alike.
Today, the Ogden Classic features so much more. The race also supports a worthwhile project as all the proceeds benefit the Miracle League of the Ohio Valley.
The Ogden event has morphed into a weekend festival.
For the second straight year, it will be contested as a half-marathon.
Activities for young and old alike get under way today and continue through the half-marathon. It has grown in stature so much that it is has added a Torch Relay, the official starting point of the weekend, to honor military personnel.
One of the sidelights each year is the dedication and dogged determination of The Ironmen -- a group of dwindling (now 13) competitors who have competed in all 35 previous Ogden races, a most notable achievement.
Mix in the Tiny Tot Trot with tonight's Fun Run, Ogden Mile and Masters Mile and a full running menu is served up to those of all ages.
Saturday is no time to sleep in as activities commence at 7:30 a.m. with the start of the Half Marathon Classic Walk, setting the stage for the headline event -- the half-marathon -- at 8 a.m. The curtain closer will be 5K Run/Walk at 8:15.
Race officials put a championship bow on all the competition at the 11:30 a.m. awards ceremony, a fitting reward for months of torturous training.
We urge the Ohio Valley to come out and cheer on all the competitors -- they deserve our support.
We wish all entrants the best of luck, and we commend race officials for putting on an annual classic in every sense of the word.