Rarely do Ohio Valley residents have the opportunity to compete against world-class athletes. It happens once a year here in Wheeling, however, at the annual Ogden Newspapers 20K Classic Run and Walk.
Runners and walkers from throughout the world come to Wheeling for the Classic, now in its 33rd year. It long ago became a Memorial Day weekend tradition here in the Ohio Valley. It is anticipated eagerly by thousands of people of all ages, including the hundreds who compete in the event's various races. While the Classic attracts world-class athletes, it also is a favorite of more casual walkers and runners, some of whom travel substantial distances to pit themselves against the challenging Wheeling courses.
We at the Odgen Newspapers are extraordinarily pleased to be the primary sponsor of the weekend's events. Our involvement has made us more aware than most area residents of the importance of those who make the Classic a reality.
Race Director Robert "Scat" Scatterday deserves special credit for the enormous amount of time and effort he devotes to the Classic. His dedication and attention to detail are critical components in staging the event.
Scores of volunteers, led by co-Race Directors Tim Burch and Amy Jenkins, are the foundation of the Classic's success. Without them there would be no races - and we tip our hats to them all.
Sponsors are vital, of course, and we take this opportunity to thank the many businesses, organizations and government entities that provide support to the Classic. All do so because of their commitments to doing good things for our communities.
The Classic has become a favorite of out-of-town competitors and spectators for many reasons. High on many of their lists of reasons to return to Wheeling is the way they are received by local residents. That says much - all of it good - about our friends and neighbors in the Ohio Valley.
What has made the classic the popular tradition that it is? Something any athlete, even those in individual efforts such as walking and running, can understand: teamwork. Once again this year, it is on display in Wheeling.