Sternwheel 5K supports festival

Photo courtesy of the Ohio River Sternwheel Committee Runners eagerly await the start of the 2018 Sternwheel 5K in Marietta. This year's race will be on Saturday.

Runners from across the area will gather in downtown on Saturday for the 10th annual Sternwheel 5K Run and Walk. Whether going for a personal best time or enjoying the morning with friends, everyone attending will be supporting one of the most iconic events in the Pioneer City.

Evy Bryant, secretary of the Sternwheel Festival Committee, said the annual race sprang up when the committee was trying to come up with ideas for fundraising events for the festival. She said even though the event was based in good merit, the committee’s lack of knowledge about holding a running event hampered their ability to succeed.

“It was a total failure the first year,” she laughed.

After joining with local running clubs, Bryant said the race has flourished in the years since and has become an integral piece of the fundraising effort for the Ohio River Sternwheel Festival in September.

“Everyone helps and supports it in some way,” said Bryant.

She said interested parties can still register for $20 from 6:30 to 7:30 a.m. Saturday at the gazebo in East Muskingum Park on Front Street, with the race starting at 8 a.m. Participants will receive a T-shirt and gift bag with coupons and merchandise from area businesses for their entrance fee, as well as a sense of accomplishment for completing the race and helping the festival, Bryant said.

The course, which is certified by USA Track and Field, a national governing body for road racing, starts at the gazebo at the park and heads down Front Street to the Washington County Fairgrounds. At that point, the course merges with the River Trail and follows the river back to the finish line at the Putnam Bridge.

Julie Hammons, bookkeeper at her husband’s practice, Hammons General Dentistry in Devola, said her family’s business has sponsored the 5K since its inception because of what it brings to Marietta and the sternwheel festival.

“It’s a good local race for people to be in,” she said. “Each year it has grown with its number of sponsors.”

She said the money raised helps pay for the free fireworks and musical acts that bring in throngs of people to Marietta each September for the festival. Hammons said she believes the 44-year-old festival is part of what makes the area a special place to live.

“It’s a tradition you get to support that’s part of the community,” she said.

If you go

•What: The 10th annual Sternwheel 5K Run and Walk.

•When: Registration is from 6:30 to 7:30 a.m. on Saturday, with the race starting at at 8 a.m.

•Where: East Muskingum Park on Front Street.

•Registration cost: $20 includes T-shirt and gift bag.

Source: Evy Bryant, secretary of the Sternwheel Festival Committee.

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