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FRIES — On Saturday, the Town of Fries will welcome more than 150 visitors who are set to participate in the 5th Annual Fries 50K on a course recently certified by USA Track and Field.
The New River Trail course is the first and only USATF-certified 50K course in Virginia.
This year, for the first time, runners’ finish times will be recorded as official 50K finish times, and they will also receive a 26.2 marathon split time that can be used to qualify for larger races such as the Boston Marathon.
“Though the majority of runners that will run in the New River Trail 50K aren’t seeking record performances, I think it is a tribute to our growing sport of ultra running to make more certified courses available,” said race coordinator Annette Bednosky. “I also think this race course has potential as a site for a future national championship.”
This year’s race also set a record for hosting the largest field of runners in the event’s history. Bednosky said last week that there are 173 registered to participate so far. Anyone else who is interested can still register on the 50K website, www.ncnr.org/nrt50k.html, until 11:59 p.m. on Oct. 11.
Spectators are encouraged to attend the race and have a picnic, play instruments or just come out and cheer or offer words of encouragement for the runners.
For these people, Bednosky recommended some spots along the New River Trail. Cliffview Ranger Station, Chestnut Yard road crossing and the road crossing near Blue Cat are good vantage points of the race, she said.
She also stressed the need for more volunteers to help in order to ensure the event’s success.
“We still need volunteers to wave flags at road crossings, assist with timing at the finish line or help out with aid stations,” said Bednosky.
The race will start and finish in Fries, and the runners will take off at 8 a.m. Saturday morning.
Runners will have a seven-hour time limit.
For more information or to volunteer, call Bednosky at (336) 466-2242 or send e-mail to email@example.com.