Local Classic

COMPETITORS, take your mark.

And with that, the 38th Annual Ogden Newspapers Half Marathon Classic will commence.

The distance extravaganza has blossomed into a rite of summer in the Ohio Valley, more precisely Memorial Day Weekend. The classic brings with it countless entrants, spectators and well-wishers to the Ohio Valley.

The race has aged gracefully over nearly four decades. In its infancy, it was simply a distance race, one of the most demanding 12.4-mile courses in the nation, challenging champion and novice entrants alike.

Today, the Ogden Classic features so much more. The Ogden event has morphed into a weekend festival.

For the fourth straight year, it will be contested as a half-marathon.

Activities for young and old alike get under way today and continue through the half-marathon. It has grown in stature so much that it is has added a Torch Relay, the official starting point of the weekend, to honor military personnel.

One of the sidelights each year is the dedication and dogged determination of The Ironmen — a group of dwindling competitors (11 now) — who have competed in all 37 previous Ogden races, a most notable achievement.

Mix in the Tiny Tot Trot with tonight’s Fun Run, Ogden Mile and Masters Mile and a full running menu is served up to those of all ages.

New this year is a special, free concert at Heritage Port set for 7:45 p.m. Friday to honor America’s military veterans, with special recognition given to World War II and Korean War veterans.

Saturday is no time to sleep in as activities commence at 7:30 a.m. with the start of the Half Marathon Classic Walk, setting the stage for the headline event — the half-marathon — at 8 a.m. The curtain closer will be 5K Run/Walk at 8:15.

Race officials put a championship bow on all the competition at the awards ceremony, a fitting reward for months of torturous training.

We urge the Ohio Valley to come out and cheer on all the competitors — they deserve our support.

We wish all entrants the best of luck, and we commend race officials for putting on an annual classic in every sense of the word.

RT