Montgomery Half Marathon and 5K take different approach for 2017

Montgomery Half Marathon and 5K take different approach for 2017
(Source: WSFA 12 News)
(Source: WSFA 12 News)

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - More than 1,300 runners will be running through many areas of the capital city Saturday morning for the Montgomery Half Marathon and 5K.

Organizers are taking a different approach this year, focusing on the non-experienced runner, with three main goals: to build a stronger running community, encouraging healthy lifestyles, and value.

"We're working really hard to bring the running community together here in the river region. but also the non-running community," explained Hardy Sellers, Race Director. " We're trying to encourage people who have not run or participated before."

This year, Sellers and other organizers of the Montgomery Half Marathon are teaming up with other races in the River Region to encourage runners to stay active, by registering now for their next run.

"The goal of this is not just to have people one and done, do the race and never do it again, but also start of a lifestyle of health, and fitness being part of that." Sellers said.

The price to participate in the Montgomery Half Marathon and 5K is drastically reduced from year's past, and the race packets will be full of better items than ever before. The "swag bags" will be filled with t-shirts, visors, and fleece blankets, among other items.

Also new this year, the races will be honoring some long-time members of the Montgomery running community, who will be deeply missed this year.  David Christenberry and Peggy Lanier were well-known runners in the river region, who both passed away recently.

David Christenberry's son, Brad, will be running the Montgomery Half Marathon in his dad's honor.

"We've spent a lot of time together running," Brad Christenberry remembers about his dad. "He was always smiling and whenever you'd take his picture running, he'd smile and give a big thumbs up to the camera."

An avid runner, David finished the Chicago and New York marathons. Well, almost.

"He had an elk hunt planned with my brother when he did the New York marathon, the same weekend, and he had to cut the marathon short because he realized he wasn't going to make the time and make the flight," Brad said.

The way Brad tells it, David found a shortcut, crossed the finish line, collected his medal, and made his flight.

"They called him a couple weeks later and said 'sir, we're going to have to disqualify your time because you missed two checkpoints on the marathon.'" David got to keep the medal.

Brad won't have a running partner for Saturday's race, but he won't be checking off the miles alone. "He'll be there with me, and he'll be motivating me, and I know I'll still hear his voice and he'll be pushing me every step of the way."

There will be a moment of silence before the race starts to in honor of Christenberry and Lanier.

For runners already registered, packet pick-up is Friday, March 10 at Riverwalk Stadium noon to 6 p.m. You can still register to run at packet pick-up. The Half Marathon starts at 7 a.m. Saturday, March 11th. The 5K starts at 7:15 a.m.

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