The inaugural Glow For Goal 5K will become an annual event.
How could it not after the resounding success it was?
Last Saturday, the first-ever race, which was run at night with each participant wearing glow-in-the-dark shirts took off through the streets of St. Clairsville with an impressive 475 entrants.
"We were completely and totally overwhelmed and estatic at the amazing turnout," said race director Chelsea Edwards, who serves as the local representative to the American Cancer Society. "It's hard to believe that just two months ago, (my mom) Barb Ballint called me with this crazy idea for a glow-in-the-dark run and we said, 'why not?'"
It's a decision that Edwards and her trusted committee are by no means regretting as they generated some $9,000 for the American Cancer Society, which will be used to help Belmont County reach its Relay For Life goal, which it came up narrowly short of in June.
"Our committee has worked hard all summer, and I am so thankful to all of them for what they have done," Edwards said. "This was quite a feat, and I am just so impressed with everyone that was involved."
As is the case with many first-time events, the race didn't go off without its share of hiccups, but they were all able to be overcame.
"We've already addressed every glitch and we're so excited for next year's race and to implement the improvements we have came up with," Edwards relayed. "
The race festivities began shortly before the gun went off at 9:30 p.m. A short opening ceremony included a special presentation to Neffs resident Allan Olexa. He was presented a glow-in-the-dark shirt that read, "First to Glow in 2012 Neffs, Ohio" because that's the shirt he wears in every race in which he competes.
"We honored Allan because he was our first registered participant," Edwards said.
Edwards' husband David was recognized as well since his business, Keystone Physical Therapy, was the first to commit as a sponsor for the race.
While it was the first, Edwards was more than thankful for all of the businesses, which donated money and/or services to the race. The list of sponsors included: United Mine Workers Local 1803 and 1473; American Sanitary Supply Company; The Biery Family; Steel Mill Grill, AEP Cardinal Plant, United Mine Workers 1188, United Mine Workers 1604, Hocking Eye Card, Salon 2212, Mom and Pop's, Brooks Running, Bellaire Hardware, Primo's Italian Deli, Convenient St. Clairsville, First Ward, Central Grill, Frito Lay, Just Right Gifts, The New Corner Store, Jebbia's AVI, United Dairy, Gold's Gym and Outback Steakhouse.
Edwards also pointed out the work and assistance provided by Pat and Patty Halloran, who own and operate Home Pizza, and disc jockey B. Dogg Bernie Donahue.
"They provided us with so much help in managing the course and essential tools for the race," Edwards said.
Unlike many races in the Ohio Valley, there was a category for casual workers. Those folks weren't timed or counted in the results, but received all of the other perks that the actual competitors.
"We're so grateful for the turnout this year and can't wait for next year," Edwards said.
The Glow For Goal was not just the inaugural event for the Ohio Valley, but for the American Cancer Society in general. However, Edwards has been informed that the ACS would like to implement races all over Ohio and Pennslyvania.
Staskey can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org