WEIRTON - Marc Harris has never ran in the Marland Heights 5K Race that he helped start in 1992 with his brother Bruce.
"I'm not sure why I haven't ran this race. I have thought about running the race but I always felt that I was needed for other things. I guess I never took the time to get ready for the race because I was busy helping to plan the event," related Harris.
He stayed true to his roots Friday evening setting up signs, encouraging the youngsters to run hard and finally driving the pace car to clear the Marland Heights streets for the nearly 100 runners who ran through the neighborhood.
WALKING — Weirton Mayor George Kondik, center, joined adults and children in the two mile Fitness Walk Friday evening as part of the Marland Heights 5K Race. -- Dave Gossett
"Kevin Elias is really coordinating the race these days. So credit Kevin for putting this together at this beautiful park every year," added Harris.
"This is a real community event that is successful every year. This is a laid back event where almost everyone knows each other. After the race we cook out and have a picnic and we all have fun together," cited Elias.
"We have people participating from Weirton and the surrounding area. And we have had runners come in from as far away as California. A lot of people plan their vacations so they can be here for the race," Elias said.
Dave D'Anniballe of Steubenville never participated in an organized race before Friday evening.
"I decided to run because Kay Littleton who works for me was so excited about this race. I work out and exercise but I have never ran in a race like this before. I really hope to finish," remarked D'Anniballe.
Littleton of Weirton joined her friends Joyce Kilgore of Weirton and Jackie Moses of Follansbee because their aerobics teacher urged them to try the race.
"Ironically our teacher had a heart catherization today so we are running today in her honor. She is our mentor in all of this. So I hope to finish this race," said Littleton.
The race was a challenge for Karen Highfeild of Colliers.
"I have been in 5K races before but never this one. I do exercise a lot and walk a lot but this is a challenge. My Goal tonight is to win," Highfeild laughed.
Race officials said the 5K race was won by 55 year old Mike Meadows of Martinsburg
The event also featured a two mile fitness walk through the Marland Heights neighborhood streets.
But before the adult runners and walker heard the whistle to start the 5K race it was time for the children to run shorter distances.
Faith Smith of Weirton was declared the winner of the toddler to two year category while Daniel Bolster of Steubenville won the four to six year old race.
The seven to nine year old race winner was Max Maley of Weirton and Abby Yost was the winner in the 10 to 12 year old race category.
A special awards ceremony was held following the races.
(Gossett can be contacted t firstname.lastname@example.org)