Could we see record times in the Greater Clarksburg 10K today?
Race director Carl Hatfield believes that could be a possibility as a thunderstorm passed through the area during the race's luncheon at Phillip's Restaurant Friday afternoon.
Friday's forecast called for a 60 percent chance of rain with the threat of thunderstorms. Today's calls for a 30 percent chance of rain with hazy and humid conditions. Highs are expected to be in the lower 80s.
"There's a chance we may have this (signaling to the rain) this morning," Hatfield said of the thunderstorm. "The worst scenario would be it quits raining (Friday) and the sun comes back out and humidity zooms up. Then (this) morning, we don't get any rain at all.
"But if it stays cloudy and it rains off and on, we could have some course records."
The men's course record is 28:32 held by Khalid Khannouchi, the world record holder in the marathon. The women's record of 32:59 is held by Kenya's Hellen Kimaiyo.
If a course record is broken, the winner would receive an extra $1,000.
The early favorite in the men's division is Reuben Cheruiyot, according to Hatfield.
Cheruiyot has won eight major events this season, including the Cherry Blossom 10-Mile Run in Washington, D.C.
n ADDING TO THE FUN: This year's 10K will also include pace groups and a team competition.
The purpose of the pace groups is to allow the participants to have an enjoyable experience, according to race chairman Larry Mazza.
"I've experience (pace groups) in other races, especially in marathons," Mazza said. "We thought that concept will be great here."
It allows the runner to be part of the team, while the pace captain can serve as a coach and cheerleader.
"There are a lot of first-time runners in this race," Mazza said, "and they may be a little intimidated. This way they can get in with a team of people and build from that energy."
Mazza will be one of the pace captains.
The main goal of the team competition is to increase participation, Mazza said.
"But also it will be a fun competition between some local companies," Mazza said. "Next year, we would like to open it to open teams, besides the corporate teams."
n CAMRADERIE: Celebrity runner Bill Rodgers plans to defend his Master's age-graded division this year, but coming to Clarksburg is more to him.
"I had a really good race a week ago," Rodgers said, "but I don't think I'll be to do that time again.
"I want to win the over-50. I'll try."
But this year's 10K means a little more than winning his division.
Rodgers and Don Kardong, this year's keynote speaker at the luncheon, were marathon teammates in Montreal during the 1976 Olympics.
"It's great to hear the stories again about some of the things that you forget and everyone has different takes about them," Rodgers said.
And the Clarksburg event is special to him.
"It's fun to come back and challenge the hills again," Rodgers said. "They're out there saying, 'Can you get over me?'
"I have a fun at this race. There are a lot neat people in Clarksburg. It's fun to see it to be such a success."
Assistant sports editor Danny Carpenter can be reached at 626-1444.