Green Memorial 5K changing its weekend in 2013
One of the area’s most recognizable and successful 5K road races is changing dates for 2013.
Race Director Ron Green has announced that the 16th annual Debbie Green Memorial 5K Run and Walk will be pushed back two weeks from its usual home on the first Saturday in August to the third Saturday, which is Aug. 17.
“This has not been a fun decision to make and it’s been one that’s been wearing on me,” Green said. “You never want to fix something that isn’t broke, but we’re always thinking of ways to improve.”
The decision to move the race back is one Green’s wrestled with since the middle of April when he learned that the Rock and Roll Half Marathon had signed a three-year deal to be held in Pittsburgh on the first Sunday in August.
“I didn’t want to go head-to-head or make people choose,” Green said. “We draw so well from Western Pennsylvania and Northeast Ohio that it would have taken an affect on us. We want to continue to move this race forward and we want to be the only show in town on that weekend.”
The other part of the equation in the move hit Green this year when nearly 200 people, who started the race, didn’t finish because of the heat and humidity of that evening.
“Obviously, August can be hot and I never wanted to move the race to the morning because I think that would change that atmosphere of the race too much.”
Green, who obviously keeps a close eye on the weather on the dates near the race, has noticed that the temperatures start to plateau in the middle part of August.
“Having it more in the middle of the month, it could still be hot, but it consistently hasn’t been as hot,” Green said.
Even though the Rock and Roll Half Marathon is only in Pittsburgh for three years, Green has no plans of moving the race back to the first weekend in August once that contract expires.
“This weekend will be the firm weekend,” Green said. “We’re not going to change this year to year.”
When Green approached the city of Wheeling about moving the race, he was given two options. The one he chose and a weekend in June because of the different events that occur at Heritage Port.
“I didn’t want to move the race to June,” Green said. “Everyone knows the race is in August. I know a lot of people who plan vacations and their racing schedules around this race, so we had to make a decision. We’re not afraid to take chances with this race.”
Green did to talk to other local racing directors because he didn’t want to affect any other races.
“I’ve gotten positive reaction from everyone I’ve talked to,” Green said. “It’s important that we didn’t step on anyone else’s toes. That definitely came into the equation.”
Last year, the Green 5K had one of its most memorable events, including a fireworks show, more door prizes than ever and the largest collection of competitors at 1,475.
Don’t think for a minute Green is resting on those accomplishments, though he admits it’ll be tough to top it.
“I started working on it a week-and-a-half after this year’s race,” Green said. “I’ve spoke with families and we’ve got to keep moving and doing what’s best for the memory of my sister, the kids we help and the competitors.”
The Green Mile will continue to be held on Friday and Debbie Dash’s for youngsters will kick off the Saturday evening events at 5 p.m. The race will hear the sounding of the gun at 6:30 p.m.
Staskey can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org