It was a big day in Wheeling and the unofficial kick off to summer with the 42nd Annual Ogden Newspapers Half Marathon Classic.
Although it was a hot day that didn’t stop avid runners, or their fans, from coming out for the big event.
The Ogden Newspapers Half Marathon Classic is an annual tradition in the Friendly City and even the humidity couldn’t keep the runners or their supporters at home this morning.
As the racers ran up and down the hills, friends and family lined the 13.1 mile course to cheer them on, offering words of encouragement.
And one runner needed a little extra encouragement as he ran the entire race barefoot.
Barefoot runner, Johnny Haught said, “Right now is a rush of emotions. I’m really excited that I got through it and everything’s alright. I had a lot of people really supporting me. Everyone through the whole race was clapping and cheering. I’m the barefoot guy today.”
Haught partnered with the United Way of the Upper Ohio Valley Saturday morning.
He raised $3,000 for Lace Up for Kids.
While other runners dedicated their race to family, friends and local veterans.
20-year Ogden Veteran, Joe Foster said, “This is one of the best races in the country. Everyone should do it. I can’t believe more people don’t do it. It’s a challenge. When I see the old guys getting up out of their chairs, standing, saluting, that really motivates me. I like that.”
First time Ogden runner, Naomi Tucker said, “I’m a sucker for peer pressure.”
First time Ogden runner, Abbie Cox said, “We run with Steel City road runners in Pittsburgh and all of our friends were doing it. So, we figured, why not?”
Of course, runners and walkers weren’t the only ones up bright and early.
Countless volunteers dedicate their Saturday morning to make sure the race is successful even down to the people standing at the finish line, handing the runners a towel.
And the racers couldn’t be more grateful.
First time Ogden runner, Christian Parker said, “Today was hard. It was hot. The hills were big. But there was water everywhere and lots of great people around supporting us.”
Of course, you can’t forget the beloved Iron Men.
Six of the Iron Men participated this year making it their 42nd Ogden Half Marathon.
Their goal is to run in at least 50!