Woodstock 5K set for Saturday
by Paige Rentz
Jul 31, 2013 | 3139 views |  0 comments | 51 51 recommendations | email to a friend | print
A small section of a mass of runners is shown in this crowd shot from the Woodstock 5K of 2009. (Anniston Star photo by Stephen Gross)
A small section of a mass of runners is shown in this crowd shot from the Woodstock 5K of 2009. (Anniston Star photo by Stephen Gross)
Although the Woodstock 5K has been designated an historic route in its 33rd year, Saturday’s race will be far from the same old event.

Race director Haley Gregg hopes expanded events following the race will be a draw for racers and the community.

“I really want the community to be more involved,” she said. “If you don’t run, if you don’t walk, you can still come out to watch.”

And after the race, they can stick around for the party. The Kidstock 1 mile race kicks off at 8:30 a.m., and so do the festivities. Playing off the 1969 music festival, the after-party in the Anniston High School parking lot will feature local bands — Jim Parks, The Gypsy Begonias, McPherson Struts, Abby Parks and Doublewide Soul — who will be covering songs by artists who appeared at the Woodstock Music Festival.

Top Notch Events & Rentals will provide a kid zone, complete with a 21-foot water slide, dunking booth, bounce house with obstacle course and slide, and a Scooby-Doo bounce house with slide. Top Notch’s Jennifer Williams said that for $10, kids can get wristbands for unlimited play time during the post-race party.

“They should plan to have a good time if they want to come,” Williams said, adding that she and her kids will be there partying it up post-race.

Vendors will also be on site selling food, running memorabilia and other merchandise throughout the day.

Nancy Grace, president of the Anniston Runners Club, said Gregg has done an excellent job in her efforts to expand the events around the race.

“For Haley to take such a large responsibility on her shoulders, it’s not an easy task,” she said. Race director, she added, is “not an easy job, and every member that has taken that responsibility has done an outstanding job.”

In Grace’s 31 years in the club, she’s seen membership grow to more than 680, with more joining each week. For the third consecutive year, ARC members will welcome runners from all over the U.S., who will compete in Woodstock as part of the Road Runners Club of America’s national championship.

With more than 1,000 runners expected Saturday, organizers will not register new runners on the day of the race. Online registration ends Wednesday at midnight, but there will be opportunities to register in person on Friday during pickup times. Out-of-towners can pick up their packets Saturday morning before the race beginning at 6:30 a.m. Runners begin lining up at 7:15 a.m. for the 7:30 start.

Gregg strongly encouraged local runners to sign in for the race and pick up their shirts and bibs on Friday. Runners can do this at Wig’s Wheels on Noble Street from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. and at Anniston High School from 4:30 p.m. until 7 p.m.

Beginning at 4:30 p.m. participants will also have a chance to meet other racers and “carb-load” for the big event during the Pasta Pig-Out catered by Classic On Noble at the high school. Cost for the meal is $8 for runners and $12 for non-runners.

“I really encourage people who live here to pick it up on Friday because race day is insane,” Gregg said.

Woodstock’s race shirts got an update this year thanks to a team of graphic design students at Jacksonville State University, who also play up a musical element in the design. “I’m excited for that to get out and really excited to hear if people like it or not,” Gregg said, adding the new design is “pretty different from any shirt we’ve had before.”

Gregg also worked from this design to develop new medals featuring the musical bird for overall and age-group winners, which will be presented at 9:30 a.m. award ceremony.

“I wanted to step it up this year,” she said.

For the first time this year, the runners club is offering only virtual race bags as part of an effort to go green. Instead of volunteers spending an evening stuffing 1,500 bags full of paper, Gregg said, registered racers will be emailed a link to a virtual race bag site from which they can print off coupons or special offers or present them at businesses with their smartphones.

Continuing the green effort, race organizers are also handing out commemorative water bottles to every person that crosses the finish line.

Staff writer Paige Rentz: 256-235-3564. On Twitter @PRentz_Star.

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