SMITH: Parkersburg exposed for the half-marathon | News, Sports, Jobs


Racing in the News and Sentinel Half Marathon mean you’ll cover much of Parkersburg on foot on August 20.

The race course offers a bit of everything when traveling in and out of the city of Parkersburg.

The start line is on Juliana Street near the courthouse, your race begins when you cross the black plastic starting mat and your time officially begins to register. You’ll go up a slight hill from the start, passing our offices at 519 Juliana St. in the first quarter mile. Here’s a tip. It’s a great place to park, you’ll be parked a block from the finish line a few hours later. After passing the log you will pass under the Sixth Street Rail Bridge, it was the longest span in the world when it was built in the 1800s, today it carries a few trains a day between Parkersburg and Marietta. You probably won’t see any trains on race day, we ask that they not run on race morning. You will soon enter the Julia-Ann Historic District. Filled with beautiful and historic homes, the tall trees in the neighborhood should provide shade as you continue to climb. When you get almost to the end of the street, half turn left before turning right a block later. You will quickly descend to Garfield and Murdoch Avenues. You then turn left and return to your starting point. In a few hundred yards you will pass the first mile marker. Just 12.1 to go to this point as you start running south. Once past the hospital, you will begin what equates to the longest climb on the race course. You also pass the first water stop just before entering the on-ramp to cross the Little Kanawha River. After almost crossing the bridge you will see the two mile marker. At this point you have about a mile to go before things flatten out. You’re doing well. It’s early in the race, pace yourself. Turn around and you will see the starting line. Look to the right and you will see the Ohio River and historic Blennerhassett Island. Along the way, keep an eye out for giant footprints, they are painted along the way.

You will briefly run along the Robert C. Byrd Highway. Senator Byrd has contributed a lot to the state, including things like funding public works projects. Many of them bear his name. You exit the highway and then cross it on an overpass. You then run around a cone that takes you out of your way a bit. This short stage was added several years ago after the new highway shortened the race distance a bit, it was necessary to maintain exactly the same distance between the start line and the finish line. There should be a man patting you at the cone.

He does it hundreds of times on race day.

You then pass the three mile marker and begin what is essentially a one mile descent. Enjoy it. Once you hit the four-mile mark, you enter what some have described as a roller coaster, small hills that exhaust some people and continue intermittently as you run up Gihon first and then Rayon. You will pass the 5, 6, and 7 mile markers on this stretch. You will also pass halfway, i.e. just before the aptly named Marathon gas station.

When you get to the end of this stretch you turn left onto old Camden Avenue and the start of a long, flat straight. Take advantage of the water stops in this area, you won’t find much shade from the sun along this route. Prepare for the sun to shine directly in your eyes during this leg of the race. You will pass both the 8 and 9 mile mark along this area, before turning right onto Camden Avenue for a short distance. The race turns right near a Speedway, where you will also find the 10 mile marker. You will begin to ascend by crossing the Fifth Street Bridge and returning to downtown Parkersburg. After several blocks you will turn right onto Avery Street. The wall in front of the United Bank building is a popular place to sit and cheer. Give them a wave.

Ahead of you is a level crossing. This is the same track you ran under at the start of the race and if you look left as you cross you will see other people finishing the race, you will also hear their names being announced as they cross the finish line. arrival. Ignore them, you’re on your way. You will get there shortly.

You will soon be running along the base of a hill. On the right you will see the steps of Quincy Hill. Luckily, you’re not going to ride them today. In no time you will pass the 11 mile mark before turning into 13th Street. You took to the streets for the first mile of the race. Not now. The 13th Street Hill rises before you. To taunt you, I put the summit elevation on it a while ago. It’s not so bad because it’s high, it’s bad because it’s close to the end of the race. The race then turns left onto Lynn Street and passes through a neighborhood. You will turn left on 17th Street and pass the 12 mile mark right by a rental car agency. Resist the temptation to rent a car for the last 1.8 km.

You will need to go a few yards on St. Marys Avenue before turning right to continue to 17th Street. The street has five stop signs. These do not apply to you. Keep going, you’re almost there. When you get to the end of the street turn left you are on Market Street and you are almost to the finish line.

The crowds lining the street are there to cheer you on, they may stick around afterwards to watch the return parade, but we like to think they’re there for the runners. When you cross Seventh Street, you’ll have the finish line in plain view. Enjoy the view, you’ve earned it. Cross the line with pride, you ran your race, and in a real sense, you won it. Congratulation.


Art Smith is co-director of News and Sentinel races and online editor of The Parkersburg News and Sentinel. He can be reached at His racing column appears every weekend.

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