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Yough River Trail Council plans spring race

| Thursday, Jan. 24, 2013, 9:01 p.m.

A sure sign of spring is when the Yough River Trail Council announces early registration for the first competition run and walk of 2013.

The 19th annual race will begin at 9 a.m. March 30, the day before Easter. There is a 1-mile Fun Run, a 5K Run and Walk (3.1 miles), a 10K Run (6.2 miles) and a 10-mile Run held on the trail and sponsored by the council. Registration and finish are at Yough River Park.

The event has grown over recent years.

It originally was a half marathon (13.2 miles) to help local runners prepare for the Pittsburgh Marathon in May. When that was discontinued for a few years, organizers got fewer and fewer people interested in that length, so the long race was changed to 10 miles, and participation increased. A few years later, organizers added a 10K. Last year the 5K and 10-mile races had the greatest participation with about 125 racers in each. The next biggest was the 5K Walk with 75 people, and the 10K had 55.

Each race has awards for the top three finishers for men and women. Individual age group awards have been discontinued.

Organizers have added a 1-mile Fun Run to the schedule this year for the first time, trying to cater to families and friends who accompany runners and need an activity while they wait for them to finish the race.

“We're hoping this will add to the fun and become a tradition to our yearly event. We've kept the date as the Saturday before Easter because people seem to really like that day. They may be here visiting for the holiday and looking for something to do or they are local participants who plan for it and enjoy it every year. So we are sticking with it, even though we are taking a chance on the weather,” said Ted Kovall, YRTC president.

Applications for the races are available in brochure holders on the trail, at Bikes Unlimited and various exercise venues in the area, and online at youghrivertrail.com.

The early registration entry fee is $15 and must be received by March 22. After that and on race day, the entry fee is $18. T-shirts are guaranteed only to those who pre-register. If runners want to do a combined race for more training, they can.

The race is on the Yough River Trail, the same flat, fast course stocked with water, Gatorade and cookies as always.

Refreshments are provided afterwards, too. YRTC volunteers will be on hand for all the activities, and SERJ Racing will be the official timer. Results of the races will be posted on the website.

“We'd like our trail to be the big winner. Proceeds benefit trail upkeep and equipment repair, including resurfacing, tree trimming and grass mowing. Gas for the mowers is a big expense,” said Kovall.

The council is an all-volunteer group. It maintains 23 miles of the Great Allegheny Passage, all the way from Bruner Run, 11 miles upstream from Connellsville, to 12 miles downstream near Perryopolis.

Donations of any amount are welcome throughout the year Dedicated volunteers who donate labor are valued and appreciated. New members are always welcome.

“We also know we couldn't hold such a successful fundraising race without the support of our loyal sponsors. We thank them,” said Kovall.

For more information, call 724-628-6078.

Nancy Henry is a freelance writer.

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