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Record field expected for Benedum 5K

by Greg Talkington

SPORTS WRITER

BRIDGEPORT -- With a beautiful day in the forecast, Benedum 5K Run director Robert "Wally" Neeley is expecting a record field for Saturday's race.

More than 100 runners have already signed up to participate in the race, and Neeley is expecting more to join in during Saturday's registration period from 7:30 to 8:30 a.m.

"It's supposed to be clear with a temperature in the high 60s at race time," Neeley said. "For running, that's about as good as it gets."

Last year, a record 193 runners participated in the event, which is held in conjunction annually with the Benedum Festival.

"If the weather is good, we could have over 200 by race time," Neeley said. "We have a good many people from out of the county waiting to see what the weather's like and that's understandable."

Last year's winners, West Union's Daniel Edgell and Bridgeport's Stephanie Hoare, have not signed up yet, but Neeley noted that Edgell didn't register until race day last year.

The race is part of the Clarksburg Area Race Series (CARS). Series leader Larry Taylor of Fayetteville has verbally committed to the race.

"I haven't talked to him since it flooded in Fayetteville last week, and I don't know if it affected him or his business," Neeley said. "I'm hoping he'll come, but I don't think a race is more important than what has happened down there."

Mail-in pre-registration should end today, but Neeley said anyone wishing to pre-register today can do so at the Benedum Civic Center.

"If not, they can always register the morning of the race," Neeley said.

With everything running smoothly, Neeley was upbeat.

"T-shirts, trophies and race packages are all in and we're ready to go," Neeley said. "The t-shirts are bright yellow with red lettering and will be easy to see.

"And Hardees, our main sponsor, will be providing refreshments at the end of the race."

Sports writer Greg Talkington can be reached at 626-1444 or by e-mail at gtalkington@exponent-telegram.com.

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