If you happen to be by the Parkersburg City Park on a Monday night from Memorial Day to about the middle of August you will see a larger than normal group of runners and walkers gathering by the “gossip corner” gazebo near the pond.
This group has been coming together weekly starting on Memorial Day and meeting through the Monday before The Parkersburg News and Sentinel Half Marathon since 1993, according to long time member and board member of the River City Runners and Walkers Club (RCRWC), Joe Corra. In 2006, walkers were added to the training.
“The half training was started by Mona Moore in 1993. Mona was the president of the River City Runners at that time and did not get to participate that first year, due to a stress fracture,” Joe Corra said. “Most of the routes have changed over the years, except the five and nine mile courses.”
Former board member and club RRCA State Representative, Tom Kramer, now leads this group. Tom brings a bit of humor and the encouragement of a coach cheering participants to the finish line. Tom provides the crowd with a pep talk, course information, reminders of safety and water and Gatorade along the course (thanks to his faithful volunteers) and at the finish.
Each week members and nonmembers are invited to join the training runs that start at 5 miles and add a mile each week. This training also includes the unique opportunity to run the course prior to the half – typically around the last Sunday in July. The River City Runners and Walkers Club provide these training runs at no cost.
Participants enjoy seeing familiar faces and getting to find their pace within the group as well as connecting to other runners or walkers at their speed each year.
“The training has allowed me to find runners at my same pace that have turned into friends that I run with all year long,” two-year member of the RCRWC Samantha Clements said.
Anyone can join in any week, the complete list of mileage, times and dates can be found here: http://www.rivercityrunners.com/training
Of course the ending point of this training is to make sure you are ready to complete The Parkersburg News and Sentinel Half Marathon that takes place during the Parkersburg Homecoming each year in August.
Want to stay connected to the River City Runners and Walkers Club? Visit them on Facebook. To find a calendar of local races, mapped training runs and information about joining find them at www.rivercityrunnersandwalkers.com