Marathon, half marathon to draw more than 500 runners

By ALYSSA HARVEY aharvey@bgdailynews.com

The fourth annual bg26.2 and Half Marathon begins at 7 a.m. Sunday at Bowling Green Ballpark on Eighth Avenue.

Proceeds benefit the National Multiple Sclerosis Society in memory of Susan B. Riherd, the sister of race director Lily Wheet.

While registration has already closed, volunteers are still needed, particularly course marshals to ensure the runners are safe and that vehicles stay off the course, according to Wheet. For a map of the course and contact information, visit bg262.com.

“They make sure the runner doesn’t get disoriented and go in the wrong direction,” she said. “Safety is one of the most important parts of putting on the race that I see. Fairview Avenue’s right hand lanes both ways will be for runners only.”

The race, which has 560 registered runners, has been incorporated into two series. One is the local bg3 which, in addition to Sunday’s event, included the Bowling Green Noon Lions Club Run for Sight 5K presented by John E. Downing, M.D., and The Medical Center 10K Classic. Those who complete all three races will receive a medal.

“There are 114 people qualified to do this. It will be good for our event,” Wheet said. “It helped the Run for Sight. They really had a good turnout.”

The half marathon is also part of a series that includes the Kentucky History Half Marathon, which was Oct. 3 in Frankfort, and the Renfro Rock n’ Run, which will be Nov. 14 in Mount Vernon.

“That’s been kind of fun for us,” Wheet said. “We’re promoting both series. I’m sure all it will do is grow.”

There will also be a kids-only 1.2-mile run at 12:30 p.m. for preregistered kids only. Last year, there were 130, and this year Wheet expects 200 kids. Their goal is to accumulate 25 miles before running the last 1.2 miles at the kids run, which will equal a full marathon.

“The kids have been running since school was back in session,” she said.

For the first time, runners will go through an alley named for the race – bg26.2 Alley, which is near Fairview Clinic.

“There’s going to be a lot of people running for the first time,” she said. “That’s why we want to see a lot of crowd support.”

Some runners like to eat carbohydrates before a big run.

Danette Idlett wants to make sure participants of the bg26.2 and Half Marathon get that chance at the Potato Bar event from 5 to 9 p.m. Thursday at Griff’s Deli, 1640 Scottsville Road. Half spuds for kids 12 and under are $4 while full spuds are $7.50. Proceeds benefit Life’s Better Together.

Idlett founded the organization, which raises money and provides financial assistance to families with a child or parent with an ongoing illness, with her husband, Matt, in January.

“I lost my first husband (Aaron Neel) to lymphoma when my son was just 3. We were lucky we had help. We were surrounded by family and friends. I always wanted to find a way to honor his memory,” she said. “Last year, Matt and I attended a fundraiser similar to this one in Nashville. It gives back to families with a child with an ongoing illness.”

The 501(c)(3) organization has provided assistance to five local families and focuses on southcentral Kentucky, although it won’t turn away anyone who needs help from outside the area, Idlett said. They have done everything from walking dogs to cleaning homes.

“Every family’s different. We started with the intent to pay rent or mortgage,” she said. “What we’ve learned is that it’s not what everyone needs. We just find creative ways to give assistance. They need to concentrate on getting better.”

The services are given at no cost to the families, Idlett said.

“Every dime we raise goes back to help the families,” she said. “We really enjoy it.”

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