The event I really missed in 2020

I’m sure I am not alone when I say that there are several community events that I’ve missed not attending over the past 6 months. But one stands out more than others.

And the event I’m speaking of is…

The Parkersburg Half Marathon.

So right now, there are those that are saying, “But Jill, you can run 13.1 miles any time you want; you don’t have to wait until the Half Marathon rolls around again.”

Well theoretically, I could, and it would take me at least 4 hours to do so, but missing this year’s Half is not about getting miles under my feet.

It’s about something else entirely.

Have you attended the Half Marathon? I was a newbie to the Half until nine years ago. I had never joined the masses downtown near the finish line to cheer on the out-of-towners and local enthusiasts who participated in the Half Marathon. But after seeing it for the first time in 2011, I can’t think of a good reason that I won’t be there every year in the future.

And here’s why.

Anywhere along the Half course, you become witness to the energy, the pride of accomplishment, the showcasing of our town — these are the attributes I wish we could bottle and pull out more frequently. It’s also the main reason I put the Half Marathon at the top of my “I really missed this event in 2020” list.

This event stands out more than others because of the preparations that take place leading up to it.

During the weeks leading up to the Parkersburg News & Sentinel’s Half Marathon and 2 Mile races, a massive spring cleaning adventure usually takes over. People are sprucing up their properties; weed eaters were out in full force clearing up sidewalks and roadways along the course. City crews were painting crosswalks and repairing streets. It was like when your family calls and says they are coming for a visit in 30 minutes and you are a tornado whirling through your house to straighten everything up for your guests.

Of course, this year is different (I know, that’s an understatement.)

Many businesses have just reopened and are singularly focused on how to do business in this new normal; how to take care of their customers and employees. One of the last things on the To Do List might be basic property maintenance when you are rightfully worried about making payroll and paying vendors and utilities. I get it.

I know of several businesses that did use the shutdown to spring clean, to paint, to plant flowers and to prepare for the day when they could reopen their doors. At a time when so much has been outside of our control, they recognized that these types of projects were a way to engage their staff and create anticipation for the time they could again welcome customers. The Blennerhassett Hotel and the Parkersburg YMCA are two that come to mind, but I know there were many, many others that did as well.

So, thank you to those that have played a part in trying to make our town shine even during a turbulent and uncertain time. And to those that have recognized that this annual sprucing up didn’t happen this year and are making plans to do small projects around town and give back in little ways, your contributions are greatly appreciated. And they will not go unnoticed.

“No one can do everything, but everyone can do something.” — Max Lucado


Upcoming Chamber Events:


TOPIC: “The different childcare models in relation to the color code system in Wood County”

Thursday, September 10 at noon to 1 p.m.

Join us to learn more about the different childcare models in relation to the Wood County School color code system for the 2020-2021 school year.

Register online at movchamber.org



TOPIC: “How to beat social media fatigue”

Thursday, September 17 at noon to 1 p.m.

Join in the discussion for some tips and tricks for getting over the day-to-day social media slump.

Register online at movchamber.org


Jill Parsons is the president/CEO of the Mid-Ohio Valley Chamber of Commerce.


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