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SMITH: One week to the starting line | News, Sports, Jobs

One week from now you could be running in the News and Sentinel Half Marathon. Or not. It’s up to you.

If you are not running in the Half or the Two-Mile Race, please be mindful that hundreds of people are. If you are driving anywhere in Parkersburg next Saturday morning you might be delayed for a while as runners and walkers make their way by. They, and the people who put the race together, have worked hard to get to this point of normalcy.

It’s not too late to join them in either race by registering at, or in person Friday at the Parkersburg Municipal Building from 2-9 pm

If you are registered, great; we look forward to seeing you at the starting line. I thought it would be a good idea to offer some tips and ideas for you leading up to the race.

Getting here

The roads downtown start shutting down pretty early before the race. Make sure you allow enough time to actually get to the starting line if you have to take a route that you normally don’t use to get downtown.

Parking when you get here

There are a lot of youth groups that use downtown parking as a fundraiser. You can use one of those lots. If you want, you can park in the parking lot of the newspaper at 519 Juliana St. You can do so and you will be halfway between the starting and finishing lines. Please do not park in the green spots, they are rented to health care workers.

Stay hydrated before and during the race

We have 15 water stops, if you wait until you are extremely thirsty to take water it’s too late. Some people think they can do the whole race without water. They are normally wrong. Water will make your body work better, and you will not feel as spent when you are done.

Eat right

Make sure you eat foods beforehand that your body can quickly turn into fuel. Peanut butter, bananas, oat meal and granola bars are all good options. Avoid hard to digest foods likely to be fatty or spicy foods. High fiber can cause problems for you as well.

Wear the right clothes

Never wear new shoes for a race. Running 13.1 miles is not a good time to break in a new pair of running shoes. The shirt that you wear should be one that you have tested and that you are comfortable wearing. Pick a fabric that wicks the moisture away from your body.

Set your own pace

If you go off the starting line like a jackrabbit, you will regret it later in the race. Set your own pace and gradually try to pass the person in front of you if you feel up to it. You will naturally run a little faster than you normally do because of having so many other runners around you. Just remember, run at a pace that suits you.

Pick up your race bag and enjoy the meals

Packet pick-up and the pasta dinner and pizza lunches are a great way to reconnect with running friends you haven’t seen in a while. It is also a good chance to make new ones that may very well give you good advice on how to enjoy the race.

Wear sunscreen

If you are slow, like me, you are going to be out there for a while. There is not a lot of shade in the middle of the street. Applying sun screen early in the morning may seem odd, but you will thank me later.

Common sense is your best race resource. Only you know how far you should push yourself.

Art Smith is co-director of the News and Sentinel races and is online manager for The Parkersburg News and Sentinel. He can be reached at [email protected] His column about the races appears every weekend.

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