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Half Marathon named RRCA Race of the Year

March 7, 2016
Parkersburg News and Sentinel

PARKERSBURG - Over the last 29 years, the annual Parkersburg News and Sentinel Half Marathon has been a hit in the community.

It attracts runners from all over the world and is highly acclaimed by nearly everyone who has participated in it. Rightfully so, the race recently received national recognition by the Road Runners Club of America, which named the News and Sentinel Half Marathon as its Road Race of the Year.

Of the races submitted for the award, the RRCA committee felt the PNS Half Marathon was most deserving.

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"The Parkersburg News and Sentinel (Half Marathon) is a great example of a community-based event that is well-supported by the city and residents of Parkersburg," said RRCA executive director Jean Knaack.

"One thing we look closely at is if the race is all volunteer-managed versus having a paid race director. Priority ranking is given to volunteer-managed events that also meet other criteria, including number of participants, prize money purse and other factors."

Knaack regularly participates in the race and has enjoyed her experiences.

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Sponsors for the race include The Parkersburg News and Sentinel, Highmark WV, The City of Parkersburg and Camden Clark Medical Center.

"The course is tough, but still enjoyable as you wind through the country and back into town," she said. "As an out-of-towner, I find it logistically easy to get to the starting line and then enjoy being at the finish line as others finish the event."

Longtime race director Chip Allman was thrilled to see the race receive such high praise.

"I'm just excited," he said. "So much goes in to putting on a quality event. I have to thank all the volunteers for the hours and hard work they put in."

Allman and race coordinator Art Smith will be in Dallas, Texas on March 19 to accept the award at the RRCA National Running Awards gala.

"I think what stands out about the race is just how much you get," Allman said. "I hear people all the time saying 'Wow, you really get a bang for your buck.' From the pizza luncheon, pasta dinner, T-shirts, medals - I don't think many races offer what we offer."

West Virginia RRCA State Representative Tom Kramer agreed and added, "Over the years, this race has been so successful because of the people involved with it. Chip is an excellent race director, but he always says it wouldn't happen without all the people involved. That's a big factor for why it's so successful."

It's not the first time the RRCA has given the News and Sentinel Half Marathon recognition. In 2015, the Parkersburg race was named as the location for the Half Marathon National Championship, and will be again this year.

"Chip and Art do a great job," Kramer said.

"I think we've got a fine race here. A lot of people from the RRCA have experienced the race, so I think we were due."

Allman is excited to see what kind of impact all the noteriety has on the race in the future.

"I'd love to see it attract some better runners," he said. "That is my hope. People will say, 'Oh. This is one of the best races in the country. I need to run in that.' "



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