By popular demand a 5-kilometer, or 3.125 mile, race has been added to the inaugural Ashland Half-Marathon event to be staged on Sunday, Oct. 28 at Marathon Park.
The Ashland Redevelopment Authority unanimously voted, 5-0, at Tuesday's meeting to allow another race at the shorter distance to be added to the event.
"Many in the Ashland community wanted to participate but wanted a shorter race too," said Ashland Redevelopment Authority Chairman Steve Greenberg Wednesday. "With so many requests and considering the strong recommendations of Race Director JJ Larner and our special guest, Bill Rodgers, that a 5K race be included, the board agreed Tuesday night to the addition."
While the 5K course remains to be finalized between town officials and Squanto Productions, the race organizers, tentative plans call for the 5K racers to cross the starting line alongside the half-marathon competitors but to be shifted onto the shorter course at one point as the race progresses before swinging backing to finish at Marathon Park.
"The 5K is a great addition to the day's festivities. We very much appreciate how the town is embracing the event," said Squanto's Larner Wednesday. "A 5K is a great distance for those of us not up for the rigors of a half-marathon and gives friends of the half-marathon runners a chance to lace 'em up and get a quick run in while they're waiting for a buddy to finish the Half. It's a great addition."
When contacted Wednesday, Rodgers said he was very excited about the 5K, an addition he had been championing.
"It fantastic," Rodgers said. "It opens up another opportunity for all runners, beginners too, to race where marathons and running in general first began in 1897 at Ashland."
"It's great in the terms of health and fitness for everyone," Rodgers continued. "I started out myself at the age of 15 at the 5K distance. There should be no closed doors in running. This is a real plus for beginners. Not everyone is cut out for the half-marathon distance."
Rodgers said he is a big believer in involving the whole community in an endeavor like the Ashland Half-Marathon event.
"Everyone in Ashland, the surrounding area or even the region should come to town and enjoy the race, whether they run the half-marathon, run or walk the 5K distance, volunteer to help out during the race, hand out water or just cheer on the runners." Rodgers said. "It's an unique opportunity for everyone to celebrate the sport in this historical place."And...
There are many other exciting details concerning race weekend now being finalized. If you have any questions or wish to schedule interviews with Bill Rodgers leading up to the Ashland Half-Marathon, please direct your e-mails to firstname.lastname@example.org