Faron Fredericks and Brenden Bergen are co-race coordinators for the event this year and said with the races only a month away, registration has been going well.
“We have over 1,100 total entrants, “Fredericks said. “That’s a little better than this time last year. Pushing back the date has helped us. My co-director Brenden and I are runners and we know that runners don’t typically train a lot over the holiday season. So when we took on this task we tried to push back the date to give people more time to train for it.”
This year’s race, which takes place March 23, will feature hundreds of runners from throughout the region. Fredericks said most runners will come from the Rome, Dalton and Cartersville areas but he expects many from the Atlanta area as well since The Big Peach Running Company in Atlanta is offering in-store registration for the events.
Rome resident Molly Maddox, 25, is running the half marathon this year, her second time at that distance. She has also run the 10k event in the past.
“I am running four to five days a week alternating trails and road along with some hills,” she said of her training routine. “I run three days of longer mileage then one or two days of lighter runs.”
Another Rome runner, 23-year-old Stephanie Davis, is running her first official 10k at the Berry races this year. She has been running for two years.
“I train outdoors with my sister Diana,” Stephanie said. “And indoors at the Rome Athletic Club. I love running because it’s something I literally thought I could never do. I started out walking, then slow jogging and now I’ve run a 10k distance without stopping. I’m doing it for my health and because working out makes you look and feel great.”
Registration for the Half Marathon is $65 through March 17. After that, registration is $75. The 10k carries a registration fee of $25 through March 17 after which the price goes up to $30. Registration for the 5k is $20 through March 17 after which it goes up to $25. And finally, the 1-mile Fun Run is $5 to participate, with registration being accepted through mail or on race day.
Registration forms for all the events are available online at berry.edu
Half marathon participants will receive a Dri-fit shirt as well as a finisher’s medal.
All the proceeds from the event will benefit the Berry College Elementary School. Fredericks and Bergen have a special reason for wanting to put on the best possible race this year.
“Brenden and I are tied to this school,” Fredericks said. “We want this to be a really successful event because this is a major fundraiser for the school. Our wives teach there and my kids attend that school. It’s important to us to make this a really great event.”
The race formats will remain the same as last year, with aid stations offering Powerade, water and energy gels to runners. There will also be monitors all along the route who are medical professionals and can treat a variety of injuries and conditions runners may face.
Harbin Clinic and Redmond physicians and medical staff will be available in the First Aid tent near the finish line. There will be Emergency Medical Technicians on the course. Athletic Trainers will be available in the Advance Rehab tent.
And the event could not take place without the hundreds of volunteers, Fredericks said.
“All parents of our school students volunteer and we even have to ask Berry students to help as well. We need course monitors, people to setup and take down as well as trash cleanup and people to help with the spaghetti dinner,” he said. “This cannot happen without volunteers.”
Those wishing to volunteer at the races can contact Fredericks or Bergen through email at email@example.com.
And while there will be many experienced runners on the course, there will also be hundreds of novice runners or those who have never participated in an official race before.
Fredericks said there is still a month left to register and train.
“I encourage anyone to come out and participate,” he said. “If you’ve never run a race before you can use the run-walk-run method. For example, you can walk for five minutes and run for one minute, or whatever suits your fitness level. It’s all about the experience. Don’t worry about time. Just have fun and try to finish. It’s all about doing your best.”