It isn't often that Clarksburg is mentioned in the same breath as Atlanta, New Orleans, Cleveland and Washington, D.C.
But thanks to the Greater Clarksburg 10K Run, the city is not only mentioned with some of the top cities in the country, it is near the top of the list.
The Greater Clarksburg 10K Run has been rated as the second-most competitive 10K run for men in the U.S. by Road Race Management, trailing only Atlanta's Peachtree Classic. It's ranked as the sixth best female event.
Want more startlingly news? The Clarksburg event is ranked No. 6 in the world.
"It's amazing that we'd be up there with those cities," said race chairman Larry Mazza. "The rankings are based on the total field's level of competition, so it speaks highly for all of the runners as well as those who help to put it on."
Running consultant Dorsey Cheuvront of Parkersburg, who helps coordinate the international field for the Clarksburg event, said he knew last year's field was stronger than previous years.
"I didn't know it would rank this high, but it's certainly getting Clarksburg a lot of notice in the running world," Cheuvront said. "To be mentioned with those other cities and races is very impressive."
So can Clarksburg earn the top ranking after this year's race, scheduled for Saturday, July 29?
"I think it will be as good as it has been in the past," Cheuvront said. "The rankings will help because the good runners want to run against other good runners. When they see the field in Clarksburg is so competitive, it will get their attention."
Mazza said the run will continue to focus on a broad scope of runners, from the professional to the novice.
"Our goal is to always have a quality race," Mazza said. "And we'll continue to stress fun and fitness. The key is to be No. 1 to each of the runners who participate.
"The most important thing that we accomplish with this run is that we raise the awareness level on the importance of good health practices," Mazza said.
Mazza said this year's event will have a few new wrinkles, namely a team competition. And the popular training program, 10 Weeks to the 10K, will return to help foster more participation, especially from women.
Last year's run and its sister event, the Kids' K, attracted nearly 1,300 runners. While Mazza said he would like to see several thousand runners eventually, the Greater Clarksburg 10K will grow gradually as it remains focused on quality.
"We don't want to get too big, too quick," Mazza said.
"I'm confident we'll continue to grow as we continue to improve the event each year," he said.