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Organizers cancel 2020 News and Sentinel Half Marathon

April 26, 2020
News and Sentinel Half Marathon

PARKERSBURG - The 2020 News and Sentinel Races, including the half marathon, two-mile and kids races, have been canceled due to the health threat of the COVID-19 virus. The races, held the third weekend in August for the last several decades, are expected to return to the streets of Parkersburg in 2021.

The race is staged with the help of more than 1,000 volunteers, the cooperation of several law enforcement groups, street and road departments and several fire departments and other community groups. "With around 2,000 participants it just made sense to cancel the event and eliminate any chance of the race causing the spread of the virus. We have reached the time of year that volunteers would begin work on the race, so it was time to decide," said Art Smith, logistical director for the race. "The assistance of local sponsors make the races possible, we look forward to working with all of them in 2021."

"From a runner's standpoint, we felt that it would be impossible for participants to not come in contact with other people during the races. Runners come from dozens of states and several foreign countries for the event. Canceling the event was really the only socially responsible thing we could do," said Race Director Chip Allman.

"I appreciate all the dedication from the sponsors, race committee, River City Runners and Walkers Club and hundreds of volunteers who have worked to make this event a success for the past 34 years," said Parkersburg Mayor Tom Joyce.

"The uncertainty of when and how we can return to pre-pandemic activities," Joyce said, means that "while unclear, I believe the 'mass gatherings' will be the last phase back to normalcy.

"Given these circumstances, the numerous pre-planning activities, expenses that need to be spent prior to the event, I believe the only choice the committee had was to cancel and plan for a 2021 race that I am confident will be as successful as the previous races," said Joyce.

 
 

 

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