WEIRTON - An annual community event is making its return Friday with the running of the Marland Heights 5-K Classic.
Runners and walkers of all ages will gather at Marland Heights Park Friday night for an event which has become more about community than competition.
"It's a community event," Park Department Programs Director Kevin Elias said. "People are more concerned with their own times than competing with each other."
The race is organized each year by the Weirton Board of Parks and Recreation, with this year's major sponsors including Hancock County Savings Bank and the Top of West Virginia Convention and Visitors Bureau.
The 5-K Classic will kick off at 7 p.m., with a two-mile fitness walk starting at 7:15 p.m.
Registration fees are $14 for adults in advance, and $18 the day of the race, with $10 for teens and $2 for youth.
Elias explained while the main focus may be on the 5-K Classic itself, many participants are attracted by the activities for the younger runners.
"A real popular feature of the race is the youth fun run and the high school challenge," Elias said.
The youth fun run will be held at 6:30 p.m., with each age group running a different distance near the park.
Approximately 50 kids take part in the fun run each year, Elias said.
In its seventh year, the Jessica Hager Memorial 5-K High School Challenge encourages area high school students to run while representing their schools. Each participating student is awarded points based on their finish in the race.
"The team with the most accumulated points wins," Elias said, noting many high school athletes use the race as part of their conditioning routines in preparation of the fall sports season.
Awards will be presented to the top finishers in the various race categories, and the race will be followed by a cookout at the park.
Race entry forms can be obtained at the Millsop Community Center, as well as online at mcc-weir.tripod.com.
For more information, contact Elias at (304) 797-5721.