Youth races moving to Erickson All-Sports Facility

PARKERSBURG – The Junior Races and Tiny Tot Trot, part of the 27th running of the News and Sentinel Half Marathon, might have a new home this year, but big things are still expected.

Since Parkersburg’s Stadium Field, the longtime site for the annual youth races which take place on Sunday following the annual 13.1-mile race on Saturday, is currently being revamped, Kids Race Director Marchell Allman and company needed a venue change.

That decision turned out to be an easy one as the Erickson All-Sports Facility – home of the Parkersburg South Patriots – welcomed the opportunity to be the host site when the fun begins at 1 p.m. on Sunday, Aug. 18.

“We had been talking about it for quite some time,” Allman said of trying to figure out whether to use Stadium Field or not. “We didn’t know whether to wait or take a chance, but as it got closer and closer we decided that we needed to make a decision. Erickson was just an obvious choice to have it over there.”

One call to Rick Leach, the athletics director at Parkersburg South, was all it took.

“They were happy to help us out,” said Allman, who is directing the youth races for a third straight summer.

Of course, Allman is more than happy to have the services of her countless volunteers. It’s those volunteers who make the youth races so successful each year.

“We have a big support team,” Allman admitted. “They make me look really good. They make me look like I’m an expert. I could not do it without the volunteers because they make it run smooth. The River City Runners make it run good and they are a huge support group. They’re awesome.

“You have Sharon Marks out with the kids and the kids love her. She does a great job and all the other runners and walkers help with the registration, getting kids lined up and handing out awards at the finish line from the morning to the very end. I couldn’t do it without them.”

The youth races are for children ages 11 and younger. The Tiny Tot Trot is held for children 5 and younger, while those 6 and older compete in the Junior Races.

“If it goes as years past, every year it’s always bigger,” Allman noted. “I don’t see this one being any different.

“Last year there were more than 400 (participants) and I expect this one to be bigger than last year. I hope so anyway. It’s always fun to see the kids out there.”

Although youth race participants may register on race day, they are encouraged to register early via mail, online or at the Runners Expo on Friday before the race to ensure the correct size on their T-shirt.