By DARINA NAIDU
---- — PLATTSBURGH — Now certified by USA Track & Field, the City of Plattsburgh Half Marathon and Relay has more than 700 runners registered so far for the April 21 race.
And coordinators are looking for at least 100 more volunteers to help out.
Race Director Jennifer Boyer, also one of its founders of the event that raises money for Team Fox for Parkinson’s disease research, said becoming certified was the main goal for this year.
The hope, she said, is that a higher-profile presence will “draw people from out of the area” to the races.
Athletes’ times will now be tracked on USA Track & Field website, which can be used to qualify for other races across the United States.
FOR TEAM FOX
Jeremy Downe, last year’s City Half Marathon winner, is already registered for the coming race, and about 485 spots remained available earlier this week.
It is open to a maximum 1,000 individual participants and another 100 two-person teams for the relay, which was run for the first time in 2012.
Registration, which opened in December 2012, ends April 18.
The cost through March 31 is $50 for Half Marathon runners and $80 for relay; it goes up to $60 and $90, respectively as of April 1.
The fees cover professional photo service of the race, food services, medals, free post-race massage, traffic control and post-race showers for participants.
Boyer said the main focus of the race is to raise money for Parkinson’s disease research. Proceeds all go to Team Fox, the grassroots community fundraising program of the Michael J. Fox Foundation.
“We are the only half marathon in the country who donates solely to Team Fox,” Boyer said.
AIM IS $50,000
Stephanie Desautels, co-founder and co-director of the race, said the USA Track & Field certification will attract more runners and, hopefully, more money will be raised for Team Fox.
“We have raised more than $100,000 over the last three years; we are hoping to raise more than $50,000 this year,” she said.
Runners will pick up their race packets between 2 and 5 p.m. April 20 at the City of Plattsburgh Recreation Department gym.
The race starts at 8 a.m. the following day at the same location on U.S. Oval, where the race also ends.
“The runners are going to be very happy because we changed a few areas in the course, and we have a more direct and neat finish line this year,” Desautels said.
Volunteers hand out water to passing runners and help set up the streets for the race. Plattsburgh City Police Department notifies the public which streets will be closed and when.
For relay participants, runners will each run 6.55 miles for the Half Marathon distance. Shuttle buses will be provided to take runners to the midway point of the course for the second half of the relay.
Following the April 21 event, the Plattsburgh Half Marathon’s post-race party at Plattsburgh City Gym on the U.S. Oval will feature a silent auction, food, drink and local band Lucid performing, starting at 9 a.m. It is free to runners and $5 for others.
A raffle, with tickets for $5 each, will offer numerous prizes, including stays at hotels and resorts, $100 gift cards to area restaurants, $100 gift certificate to Dick’s Sporting Goods and Ashley’s Furniture Home Store, YMCA memberships, a sterling silver toggle bracelet, a weekend stay in a luxury suite at the Adirondack Pet Lodge and spa packages.
At 2 p.m., the party will move to Olive Ridley’s, where each guest will get a free beer and food specials.
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