By Doug Brenneman, JOURNAL Sports Editor
Although winter has been holding on, the weather for the Kewash Trail Half Marathon looks to feature sunny skies and a high temperature of close to 60 degrees Saturday in Washington.
It will be the fifth annual running of the event. The first year was 2014.
There were 70 runners the first year. There were 193 runners who participated last year from four different states and more than 300 are expected this year.
?I think we have four signed up from California and five from Arkansas that I know of,? race co-director Michelle Driscoll said. ?We have quite a few from Illinois and a few from Wisconsin, Minnesota, Nebraska and Missouri, too. We even have one runner from Spain.?
Kevin Yoder has posted on the site?s Facebook page that he is coming back from California to his hometown to watch his wife, Sherry Yoder, run.
The Kewash Trail has a gradual decline and incline with some flat areas, however, it is not a hilly course although there are some short small hills along the way.
Besides the half marathon, there are also 10 kilometer and five kilometer races. All races start at 8 a.m. at the YMCA on the Square.
The overall male and female winners will each receive $100 and a new pair of running shoes. Second place of each gender will receive $75 and third $50.
Last year?s overall and female winner was Traci Kresser from Clive, who finished in 1 hour, 25.5 minutes. The male winner was Kyle Krisher from Waterloo. He finished in 1:30.16.
There are different running groups that have different goals that have entered the race.
?Some want to run a half in each of the 50 states,? said Driscoll.
The race?s other co-director, Shawn Loy, has accomplished that feat. Driscoll enjoys having a ?girls weekend? with her running friends and has run with them in 16 different states so far.
?There is also a group called Half Fanatics,? said Driscoll, who is a member of that club. ?In order to be in that, you have to meet certain qualifications like running so many halves within 10 days or a certain amount in a year.?
Driscoll qualified for the club by running two half marathons in one weekend.
There are at least six runners from that group who are signed up to run.
Driscoll said that Sigourney natives Casey Thompson and Preston McNurlen are signed up to participate. Thompson pushes McNurlen, who has cerebral palsey, in a specially-designed wheelchair.
There are many reasons why someone would choose to run a half marathon and why they would travel a distance to do it.
?It?s a great reason to get away with friends or some do it for the ?bling? (race medal) and some are training for a full marathon,? Driscoll said.
All finishers are awarded a medal.
?I think the feeling of accomplishment to say you did it goes a long way,? Driscoll said.
It is believed that the first man to run the marathon, Phidippides, died from the effort, so a half marathon is a much safer goal.