In two months time, runners and walkers from all over the world will descend upon Parkersburg for the News and Sentinel Half Marathon. Race day will be the culmination of training for thousands of competitors with some having different goals from winning the race, to setting a new best time, to just finishing.
However, before the participants can arrive at the day of the event, all have to become physically fit enough to run the 13.1 mile course. Those journey's are often far more interesting and more in-depth than anything taking place on race day.
Each year a local runner is selected by the Mid-Ohio Valley running community to share their journey through training and up to and after the race. Whether they have a special inspiration or are just running the race for the first time, it is interesting to read about the preparations and challenges the runners have to overcome over the course of their time with the race.
This year, Williamstown-native Amy Eddy was selected to share her experiences prepping for the world-known race.
Eddy, who graduated from West Virginia University and received her masters from Otterbein, is a nurse practitioner who has been running for the past 14 years.
"I started when I was around 36," said Eddy. "Rick Brown was instrumental in getting me into competitive running and really taught me about running, the endurance aspects, and how to run competitively"
Since meeting Brown, she has been an avid runner who can be seen hitting the pavement five to six times a week.
"I have a group of friends I run with but I also run with myself because of my work schedule," shared the director of the River City Runners Club kids' series. "It is nice to run in a group at times but I also enjoy the solitude of being out there by myself at other times."
When I first met Eddy, she was preparing to run a six-mile practice session beginning at City Park and working its way downtown before heading back to the park.
Pardon me for the plug, but the racers meet at 6 p.m. every Monday in the park and take off in a training pack sponsored by the River City Runner's. All are welcome to attend the gathering.
The runner cites these training sessions as being important because the half marathon is different from others she has run.
"It is definitely one of the harder half marathons I have run in," said Eddy. "It is very hilly and provides a real challenge. It can be gruelling on the legs, especially the uppers legs.
"I have run this race off and on since 2007 and this year I will use it as a bit of additional training for a race in Maine in October."
I am quickly running out of space but make sure to check the paper every Sunday for the half-marathon diary to read about Eddy's journey weekly up to and then after the race.
Contact Joe Albright at firstname.lastname@example.org