WEIRTON - The Marland Heights 5K drew runners and walkers from near and far to Weirton Friday with more than 100 participants in the race and more than 60 children joining the youth fun run.
The annual race begins and concludes at Marland Heights Park and leads runners through the hilly neighborhoods of Marland Heights.
The youth fun run featured several heats for children up to age 12, and the 5K and 2-mile fitness walk included participants up to age 70 and older, making the community event a true all-ages affair.
STARTING LINE — More than 60 children ran in the youth fun run as family and friends cheered them on at the Marland Heights 5K at Marland Heights Park in Weirton Friday. -- Shae Dalrymple
Bill Harvey of Steubenville was armed with a camera at the starting line to catch photos of his two grandsons and one granddaughter, ages 2, 3 and 8.
"They enjoy it. They love it every year," he said.
Andrea Bolster, another participant from Steubenville, said her family has been running in the race for five years or more.
"We have runners in every age group. It's just wonderful. It's one of my favorite events because it is truly family-oriented and involves all ages. That's really hard to find," Bolster said. "For our family this is kind of the last hurrah of summer before school starts."
"The weather is great, and the turnout is great, bigger than last year. Thanks to all of our sponsors and participants for making this such a success," said Chris Krishak, program director filling in for Kevin Elias of the city's parks and recreation department.
Something new this year was that overall male and female winners in each age group received T-shirts, Krishak said. The top three overall finishers received plaques, and trophies were awarded to top finishers in each children's age group.
A free picnic and cookout in the park was held after the race, and DJ Mark Kaczmarek provided musical entertainment for the evening.
"This event has been the highlight of Marland Heights traditions for so many years, and it has always maintained popularity," observed Mayor George Kondik. "Generations of families and runners from surrounding areas always make a special effort to be here. I want to thank everyone involved. We intend to keep this tradition going for many years to come."
(Dalrymple can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)