That's what the 28th annual News and Sentinel Half Marathon and its accompanying Two Mile Race received from the more than 1,800 participants who took to the streets of Parkersburg.
Every out-of-town guest our sports staff encountered had nothing but good things to say.
They loved the course, which they described as tough but fair.
They were thrilled not only by the number of water stops, but also by the enthusiasm of those who manned them.
They couldn't believe the number of spectators who lined the course or the amount of encouragement they received along the way.
They even loved the one thing we can't control -the weather -which was about as cool as an August morning in Parkersburg gets.
The nice thing was it wasn't just the repeat customers you see here year after year who were raving about the race.
Dave Talcott and his wife, Erin, of Owego, N.Y. -who swept the titles in the half marathon walk races -have competed in races around the world. In fact, it was their chance meeting with local walker Donna Graham at the World Championships in Brazil where Graham convinced them to give the Parkersburg race a try.
The Talcotts, who have seen and done it all when it comes to races, couldn't have been more impressed with the Half Marathon. They plan to come back next year, joining the list of many who once they give the race a try, become hooked on it. Many say it is the first event they mark on their annual racing calendar. They plan their training and their other running events around it.
Races don't happen on their own. They require an incredible amount of both advance planning and volunteers willing to perform any task no matter how menial it may seem. Take, for example, those who man street corners. Not only must they point the way for the participants, but they also need to keep traffic from getting in their way. Without them, chaos could ensue.
The River City Runners and Walkers Club serves as the catalyst for the race. Its members not only know what they are doing, but they also realize that it is advance planning that ultimately will determine the success level of the event. They start having meetings at the beginning of each year to go over details, for this is indeed a detail-oriented exercise.
Also, credit is due The Parkersburg News and Sentinel, which stepped up to sponsor the race after Camden-Clark Memorial Hospital, the race's original sponsor, decided to bow out.
Sponsoring a race is a major commitment and even though the newspaper takes the lead, it gets a large number of assists from other local businesses who also get involved.
Parkersburg long has had the reputation of being a great sports community. The half marathon serves as an annual confirmation of that lofty designation.
Contact Dave Poe at email@example.com