Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

July 19, 2013

Runners to pound the pavement today in The Athens Mile

By TOM BONE
Bluefield Daily Telegraph

ATHENS — Organizers of The Athens Mile, which will be run this morning for the second time, are asking runners to follow Biblical advice literally to “run with patience the race that is set before us ... .”

That’s fitting, since the organizers are members of the Princeton Church of God Running Club. They chose the Bible verse of Hebrews 12:1 to use in advertising the race.

Lance McDaniel, a graphic arts specialist at Concord University, said Friday afternoon that the length of the footrace was chosen partly to appeal to joggers or runners who might be intimidated by longer distances.

He added, “There are 5K races in every town some weekend, it seems like. I wanted to do something different.”

Registration takes place at the athletic complex on the Concord campus and ends at 8:15 a.m. this morning. The race is set to start at 9 a.m. on Vermillion Street, near the only stoplight in town. It finishes one mile later at the Concord football stadium.

Proceeds will support the running club. Cost is $20 per runner. In addition to a wide range of age categories, this year’s entry form includes a Clydesdale Division, for men weighing at least 200 pounds. There will be a Kids’ Quarter Mile race after the mile run, at a cost of $5 per child, age 10 or under.

He said the event will also include some inspiring words from Amanda Nickels, who works at Appalachian Teen Challenge.

“She’s a great speaker,” he said. “She’ll actually run in the event.”

The first edition of the race last July “went well,” McDaniel said. “I had support from the town. They’re real good about backing me ... and the Concord (public safety) officers, they were willing to help, and will help again this year.”

This second edition of the race was promoted in Princeton at the huge Sam White 5K Run in May. “We printed about 500 (brochures) and they were given away at that race,” McDaniel said. “I think that was a big factor.”

He also alerted runners about the second race via websites like Iplayoutside.com, tristateracer.com and wvrunners.com.

The Athens Mile will take place before temperatures get “too blistering hot,” he said. “It’s been pretty humid here this past week. That humidity may still be out there tomorrow. But warm weather’s better for faster events. It keeps the muscles warm.”

“I’m hoping it’s not going to rain.”

Hebrews 12:1 in the King James Version reads, “Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us ... .”

— Contact Tom Bone at tbone@bdtonline.com