PARKERSBURG - On race weekend Saturday, the stars are the international runners who come to Parkersburg looking to win The News and Sentinel Half Marathon. On Sunday, it's time for the children of the Mid-Ohio Valley to get their day in the spotlight, er sunlight. That's when the Junior Races and Tiny Tot Trot will take place on the recently renovated all-weather track at Stadium Field. It's a great setting not only for the participants, who get to experience the thrill of performing in Parkersburg's biggest venue before a large and supportive crowd, but for the parents of the participants, who make up the crowd and encourage every youngster to make it to the finish line. Race director Mona Moore remembers when the youth races were conducted on the asphalt of Market Street. So when Parkersburg High School agreed to make Stadium Field available, it was a done deal. The races have been there ever since and nobody involved in them wants them to move. The menu for Sunday begins with the Tiny Tot Trot at 1 p.m. It will include 10 races for boys and girls from 1 to 5 years old. They will be divided by age and gender. The top two finishers in each race receive a trophy while everyone who participates receives a medal. Plus, every participant wears the No. 1, because in the eyes of race organizers, they're all No. 1. Once the Tiny Tot Trot is completed, it is time for the Junior Races for those 6 through 11 years old. Again, participants are divided by age and gender. Distances in the races range from a few yards for the 1-year-olds to a half mile for the older children. Registration is only $5 and includes a T-shirt and a medal. Moore said in addition to race day registration at Stadium Field, which begins at 11 a.m., participants also can register from 2 to 9 p.m. on Friday at the Parkersburg City Building. She encourages any one who knows they will be participating to register on Friday as it will help speed up the process on Sunday. Many of those who have run in the race have gone on to participate at Stadium Field in high school events. Moore said it isn't unusual for some of the younger runners who have participated in the Two Mile Run on Saturday to also participate in the Junior Races on Sunday. The Junior Races and Tiny Tot Trot require a huge number of volunteers. The River City Runners and Walkers Club members serve as race officials, just as they do for the News and Sentinel Half Marathon and Two Mile Run on Saturday. Plus, members of the Parkersburg High School cross country team also volunteer their time to work with the children.
The Junior Races and Tiny Tot Trot will take place on the all-weather track at Stadium Field.