PARKERSBURG - Go to Stadium Field on Sunday afternoon, and you'll be treated to two separate running events. First up is the Tiny Tot Trot, for children ranging in ages from 1 to 5. They're not as competitive as they are fun. Some of the toddlers can barely walk, and get some much-needed assistance from their parents. Once the 10 Tiny Tot Trot races are over, it's time for the final running event of Homecoming weekend - the Junior Races. The Junior Races are for children ranging in age from 6 through 11. They are divided both by age group and gender so that a 6-year-old boy will be running against other 6-year-old boys. These races get a little more competitive than the Tiny Tot Trot as many of the competitors are there to win. Yet, everyone who participates in the event is a winner. Not only do they receive a medal and a T-shirt for being part of the event, but they also get to run on the Stadium Field track. And they get to run in front of an audience bigger than those that witness most high school track meets. An audience that is there to cheer and support every competitor, from the winner down to the last one to cross the finish line. The races are put on by members of the River City Runners Club, who volunteer their services to see that everything goes off as smoothly as possible. Most of those conducting the races also were part of the group that put on the News and Sentinel Half Marathon on Saturday. Rather than use Sunday as a rest day, they are right back at it, doing a good deed for the children of the community. One of the many volunteers is Mona Moore, who serves as the race director. She got involved with Tiny Tot Trot and Junior races in the early 1990s and has been doing it ever since. She remembers when the races were conducted on Market Street, which makes her appreciate the Stadium Field facility that much more. "We have adequate parking, restroom and refrigeration units,'' she said. Plus, the facility itself is first class, featuring an eight-lane, all-weather track. The races are part of the River City Runners Club Kids Series, which should help them attract an even greater turnout than in past years. "We had over 300 last year,'' Moore said. "We'd love to see 400 this year. We've done a lot of promotion within the school system and the kids are getting more involved with physical fitness.'' Moore notes that several of the competitors in the Junior Races often ran the previous day in the 2-Mile. And she has seen many winners of the Junior Races go on to become stars in high school and beyond. Moore wouldn't think about not volunteering her time to the worthwhile event. "I get back more than 100 fold what I put in,'' she said.
Race Facts What: Junior Races When: Immediately following the 1 p.m. Sunday Tiny Tot Trot Where: Stadium Field, located on the campus of Parkersburg High School Who: The junior races are open to boys and girls who can compete in races ranging from those six-and-under to those 11-and-under. The older the competitors, the longer the race. How to register: Registration can be done online at newsandsentinelhalfmarathon.com, at the Parkersburg City Building on Friday or on race day at Stadium Field after 11 a.m. Awards: All participants receive a T-shirt and medal. The top two finishers receive a trophy.