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City prepares for annual 10K

by Sarah Nagem

STAFF WRITER

CLARKSBURG -- Could it be possible for an average local runner to win Saturday's Greater Clarksburg 10K?

"It could, I guess, if everyone fell down. That's the only way I can see a guy like me winning," said race chairman Larry Mazza.

While the race has a history of attracting top-flight professional runners, most of the competitors are regular folks, Mazza said.

But it doesn't matter if spectators come to see their neighbors or the professionals. What does matter is thousands of people show up to see the fourth-rated 10K in the country --many times the crowd on Main Street's sidewalk is three or four people deep, Mazza said.

Even people who aren't avid running fans can enjoy the race, Mazza said. Watching the runners -- especially the good ones -- can be an inspiring experience.

Mazza thinks the best places to watch the race are from the corners of Main and Fourth streets or Main and Second streets because the finish line is visible from those spots.

To catch a glimpse of the winner, however, you may not want to stray very far. The top competitors usually finish the 6.2-mile race in about 28 minutes, Mazza said.

Pace groups also pound the pavement, with Mazza leading a 55-minute group. The groups range from 45 to 70 minutes.

Now in its seventh year, the race has continued to change and grow. A Kids K has been established, and last year featured the first 2-mile race for less hard-core runners.

About a thousand competitors ran in last year's 10K, about 200 in the Kids K and about 100 in the 2-miler, Mazza said.

This year's 10K will begin at 8:30 a.m., while the kids will start at 10 a.m. and the 2-milers will start at 10:30 a.m. An awards ceremony will follow at 11 a.m.

Many streets will remain closed for the runners. Main Street from Marshall to Chestnut streets and all intersecting streets will be closed from 8 a.m. until the race is over, said Clarksburg Police Chief John Walker.

Marshall Street to Monticello Avenue will remain closed until 10:30 a.m. Monticello Avenue to Chestnut Street will remain closed until 11 a.m., Walker said.

Spectators should arrive at the scene by 7:30 a.m. to get prime spectator spots, he said.

"It seems like each year it gets more and more," Walker said of the number of spectators.

Despite big crowds, Walker said road closures usually don't create much of a problem. The Clarksburg Fire Department will help direct traffic, and 12 to 15 Clarksburg police officers are expected to be present.

The day's events will conclude with a Wings Fest that will feature live music, Mazza said.