It’s 13.1 miles of turns, curves, straight-away, declines and definitely a few hills, but even with all those obstacles, hundreds of runners still lined up for the 39th running of the Ogden Half Marathon in Wheeling and were up to the task.
“Up in Pittsburgh I tell people I’m going to this race and they all think I’m crazy because of the hill. A lot of people don’t even want to come down for it so I know it’s always a good race and a great challenge and I always like a good challenge,” Colin Gundling said.
For Gundling, running the Ogden has been a family tradition, one that he’s been involved in for more than the past decade.
“I remember when I was really little, coming out and watching my dad and my uncle and my mom all run it and it was always a big event in the spring,” Gundling said. “Ever since I ran it the first time, I think I was like a sophomore in high school, I’ve tried every year to come back.”
Gundling isn’t alone in saying the Ogden is a tradition. Kyle Timko has now run it the past three years and was able to improve on his time from last year.
“It’s always a fun course, it’s challenging, especially that 29th Street hill, but it’s gratifying to get past it,” Timko said. “It’s really good. It was perfect weather today. I felt kind of tired really, but I did knock off three minutes from last year so I was happy.”
Jose Castro was taking in the Ogden festivities for the first time since moving to the Ohio Valley from Puerto Rico. He made the impulse decision Friday night to sign up for the 5K Saturday morning and next year he wants to upgrade to the half marathon after getting his first taste Saturday.
“This is my first experience all the way around,” Castro said. “It’s been awesome. You know it’s something different. Peaceful, nice living, everybody gets along with everybody. That’s good, that’s the way it should be.”
That sense of community is what brings many of the racers back to the Ogden year after year.
“I look forward to this race every year and I’m sure many of the locals do as well,” Tara Thomas said. “It’s awesome to see the local runners running together, supporting each other and I think it really brings our community together.”
Money raised from Saturday’s race will be donated to Ohio Valley Breast Cancer Awareness Inc.