This Sept. 9 marks the fifth year in a row the annual Farmville Downtown Partnership Half Marathon and 5K will bring an extra jolt of life to downtown Farmville. The event will start at the High Bridge Trail State Park Plaza on Main Street, and half-marathon participants will cross the bridge twice during the race.
The race, sponsored by Centra Southside Community Hospital, gives competitors an opportunity to experience the scenery of a region rich with history and enjoy expansive views of the heart of Virginia from the bridge that stands 125 feet above the Appomattox River.
Organizers anticipate roughly 400 race-day participants. The race historically draws runners from as far west as Oregon and as far south as Florida. Local residents also gathered to enjoy the atmosphere of the Farmville community.
“Over the past four years this event has drawn hundreds of people to our community to experience High Bridge Trail and local shops and restaurants.” Farmville Downtown Partnership Program Manager John Burton said, “It’s a vehicle we use to bring attention to our town and community. We believe this year will be no different.”
Aside from racing, there are other opportunities for the community to get involved that include volunteering. More information on how to help out can be accessed on the FDP website: www.farmvilledowntown.com
Downtown business owners also participate to help make the event a success. “Business owners donate a goodie for a racer’s bag, open their doors early or just attend the day of the race.” Race Coordinator Kaitlyn Kayton said.
The half marathon will occur between 7:30 a.m. and 11 a.m., and the 5K begins at 8 a.m. and ends at 9:30 a.m. Racers will be cheered on by spirit groups and have access to amenities such as water stations and port-o-potties.
Riverside Runners, a specialty running and walking products store, of Lynchburg, Va., will lend their services by timing and scoring the race. Each participant who finishes the race within those time periods will be awarded a finisher medal. Cash awards will also be given to the top three male and female finishers, and the top three finishers overall will receive special recognition.
Online registration is available until Sept. 4. Participants may also register onsite Sept. 8 and 9. Registration for the 5K is $30, and $75 for the half marathon.
The marathon is one of just many events to occur this year conducted by the FDP to add to the vibrancy of the Farmville community as part of the mission to celebrate “the beat of the heartland.” Like Players in the Plaza, another popular downtown program, the race gives visitors and residents an enjoyable experience while providing an opportunity to shop downtown and connect with outside visitors as well.
“Having the High Bridge Half Marathon and 5K enhances Farmville as a community by bringing people together from the surrounding area.” Kayton said, “Also, having the race start on Main Street really shows what a beautiful and welcoming area Farmville is and all it has to offer.”