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Great Race registration closed

A record field will participate in this Sunday's Richard S. Caliguiri Great Race, which sold out on Tuesday when registration hit 14,000.

Organizers capped entry to the race for the first time ever this year after last year's race reached 12,788, just 19 runners short of tying the record of 12,807 set in 1987.

This will be the largest field in the 33-year history of the race, which started in 1977 with 400 participants.

Race director Mike Radley said he didn't think he'd see the day when they had to limit entry.

"Times change, and we're excited about the growth," he said. "It's a good problem to have. There was a time when it didn't grow, it just plateaued. I think across the country nationals trends are that registration is up for 5Ks, 10Ks and marathons, and that's a good thing. It shows people have good fitness as a priority in life, and we're happy to be part of it."

This is the fourth year that participation has grown after dropping earlier this decade and bottoming out at 7,381 in 2006. There was no race in 2003.

Radley said they'll watch this year's race closely to determine whether the 14,000-runner limit will stick or if they may be able to accommodate even more in 2011.

"We're going to watch for densities and tendencies of the crowds, not only our runners but our staff and volunteers and support groups," he said. "We want to see what it will look like in terms of our ability to provide services and a safe, enjoyable event."

The 5K race begins at 8:30 a.m. in Oakland, and the 10K begins at 9:30 a.m. in Frick Park. Both races finish at Point State Park.

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