By Katie Dahlstrom
Herald Staff Writer
The second annual Clinton Half Marathon will take place this weekend.
Race organizer Brian Peck encourages runners and walkers alike to take part in the event, which features options for anyone who would like to participate, regardless of skill, he said.
“We tried to cater to all different types of ability,” Peck said.
A 10K and 5K will allow participants to choose which event they feel their skills are best suited to.
The half marathon route will include several hills and a pass through Eagle Point Park. Runners will run alongside the Mississippi River and half marathoners will have the opportunity to see the widest part of the river while running through Eagle Point.
The 10K race follows the same route as the Half Marathon before splitting off after 13th Avenue North.
5K runners will start off with the Half Marathon and 10K runners but split off in the opposite direction at the first turn. This course is flat and open for people who would rather walk or aren’t necessarily runners.
All three races will begin at 7:30 a.m. on Sunday just outside of Ashford University Field. Peck is expecting the race to draw similar numbers to last year’s race. He anticipates between 400 and 500 runners and walkers will participate in the races, which he called challenging and rewarding.
Registered half marathon participants will receive an official Asics short-sleeve tech race T-shirt, Asics running cap, a finisher medal, and entry into the HyVee post-race party in the Lumber Lounge at Ashford University Field. The 10K and 5K registered participants will receive the official Asics short- sleeve tech race T-shirt and entry into the Hy Vee post-race party.
Race day registration is available from 6 to 7:15 a.m. Peck said the event is a community effort led by a race committee and supported by a number of volunteers.
“We have a tremendous army of volunteers,” Peck said.
Peck also hopes to receive community support from people not participating in the race. Those along the route are encouraged to cheer racers on as they travel by.
Last year’s race brought participants from 11 states. Peck said he hopes to see the event expand in the coming years. The night before the race, Keynote Speaker, Matt Long will speak at 7 p.m. in the Clinton High School Auditorium, 817 Eighth Ave. South.
“When it comes to words of encouragement, he is the guy,” Peck said. “His story is very compelling.”
Long is a New York firefighter who suffered a crash so horrific doctors only gave him a 1 percent survival rate. Long was riding his bicycle in 2005 when he was struck by a bus and since, Long has made a remarkable recovery.
He’s chronicled his life and journey in his book “The Long Run,” released in October 2010. Matt has also started the I WILL Foundation that provides coaching, training and financial support to help people overcome adversity and challenges caused by illness or injury. Long will speak following the pasta dinner, which will take place from 5 to 7 p.m. at Clinton High School. More information is available online at clintonhalfmarathon.com.