News and Sentinel Half Marathon director Chip Allman is a giddy man these days. And, why not.
Not only will the 26th edition of the 13.1-mile race include three-time champion Alene Reta, but the man who kept the Ethiopian standout from becoming the race's only four-time champ-Julius Kogo-also will toe the starting line for the 8 a.m. start on Saturday, Aug. 18.
Kogo, who captured his first title against a field that included Reta in 2010, became the first man to eclipse the 62-minute barrier when the Kenyan covered the course in 1 hour, 1 minute and 47 seconds last August.
Just having that pair racing one another should be enough to line the roads with screaming fans, but this is truly an international field as the list of elite runners coming includes competitors from Japan, Russia, Morocco, Bolivia, Kenya and Ethiopia.
There also will be several fan favorites such as Vincent, Ohio's Jocelyne Majoy, who will be going after her first grandmasters title after two straight runner-up finishes, and 61-year old Gary Romesser-the No. 1 ranked senior grandmaster in the country.
Both fields appear to be talented and deep. There are 10 males who have covered the distance in 66 minutes or faster while the women's field has 10 entrants who have run 74 minutes or better.
"This may very well be our deepest field ever," explained Allman. "The women's field is really tough and the men's field is getting tougher."
More than 1,000 runners and walkers have finished the late-summer race the past two years and registrations to date lead one to believe that that trend will continue this year.
Registrations are still being accepted and the process is an easy one. Interested runners or walkers can pick up an entry form at various locations around the area or they can go online at NewsandSentinelHalfMarathon.com.
Second year head coach Dana Holgorsen and his West Virginia University football staff just picked up two more verbal commitments. They are 3-star safety Daryl Worley from William Penn Charter School in Philadelphia, Pa., and 3-star wide receiver Dakiel Shorts from Elkton Christian Academy in Elkton, Md.
That brings the number of verbals to 10 with the start of fall training camp just days away. Don't be surprised if that number doesn't grow quickly as excitement continues to build surrounding the Mountaineers' upcoming inaugural season in the Big 12.
Manager Jim Goodwin and his staff did a great job with the team this summer and the results may be seen next spring when several of those players compete on their high school teams.