Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Off and Running: Registration Under Way for 2010 Berry Half-Marathon

The calendar may say October, but Dr. John Azar-Dickens and other runners and walkers in the area are already looking ahead to third edition of the Berry Half-Marathon, scheduled for March 6, 2010.

“In any endurance event such as a half-marathon or marathon, it is important to begin preparing early,” said Dr. Azar-Dickens, a Berry College faculty member and avid runner who recently completed his first Ironman Triathlon. “Proper training allows for a slow progression in mileage each week, prepares the body efficiently for the exertion level and reduces the risk of injury.”

For the second consecutive year, Dr. Azar-Dickens is overseeing the training regime for Team Berry, a support group for Berry students, faculty and staff members who are planning to compete in third-annual event.

“Team Berry begins training in mid October and continues weekly until the race in March,” Dr. Azar-Dickens explained. “Last year, there were roughly 40 people who trained together and finished the race successfully.

“We focus on gently increasing our mileage each week as we approach the 13-mile goal,” he continued. “This helps ensure that participants are well prepared and less vulnerable to injuries. Careful and well planned preparation/training also increases the chances of a more enjoyable race, not just physically but psychologically as well.”

Registration for the half-marathon is under way and will continue through the winter months. More than 1,500 competitors flocked to the world’s largest college campus for the 2009 event, and organizers expect an even greater turnout in 2010. Once again, participants will have their choice of three different races: the signature half-marathon, the Viking Classic 10K and a 5K. There is also a one-mile fun run for children.

All three races feature electronic timing on courses that are certified by USA Track & Field. Both the half-marathon and the 10K are official qualifiers for Atlanta’s Peachtree Road Race. Walkers are welcome in all races.

Registration for the half-marathon is $55 through Dec. 1, $65 from Dec. 2 to Feb. 15, and $75 through March 4 (no race-day registration available). Registration for the 10K and 5K is $20 through Feb. 1, $25 from Feb. 2 to March 4, $35 at the pre-race pasta dinner on March 5, and $40 on race day. Registration for the one-mile fun run is $5 (either mail-in or on race day).

Half-marathon finishers will receive technical shirts and finishing medals. Participants in the other races will receive t-shirts. Go to www.berryhalfmarathon.com to register online. Proceeds will benefit Berry College Elementary and Middle School. Call 706-346-6223 or e-mail berryhalf@gmail.com for more details.

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