Green Circle race on part of trail

Posted: October 5, 2012

The Winchester Star

Winchester — Participants in the Green Circle 5K and Kid’s Mile will get a small taste of what they are running for this Saturday.

The race, now in its eighth year, is designed to raise money and awareness for the Green Circle, a walking and biking trail around the city, said Ed Schrank, race director.

The race takes place on part of the trail to give participants a chance to experience what its creators always envisioned — a safe place for people to walk, run and bike within their own city, said Schrank, assistant professor of physical therapy at Shenandoah University. The department and its students put on the race each year.

“We have been trying to do what we can,” he said. “The biggest thing we contribute is so people hear about the Green Circle and know what it is.”

The 5K starts at 8:30 a.m. in front of Daily Grind, 631 W. Jubal Early Drive, and ends back at that location. The first of two Kid’s Mile races will begin at 9:15 a.m. There will be a 1-mile race for ages 8 and under and one for ages 9 to 12. Both events take place rain or shine.

Pre-registration is available online and costs $15 for the 5K and $10 for the children’s races. For more information, go to facebook.com/winchestergreencircle5k.

Race-day registration and packet pickup for registered runners starts at 7:30 a.m. in the parking lot. On the day, the fees will be $20 for the 5K and $15 for the Kid’s Mile races.

Proceeds benefit the Green Circle.

The prize for the top male and top female runner in the 5K will be either a free 3-D running analysis or VO2 max testing done by the physical therapy department, Schrank said. There also will be race hats for the adult winners and medals for the children.

The race is put on by the physical therapy department, but the driving force behind it is the students in the program, he said. Of the roughly 120 students in the three-year program, about half help plan or manage the race.

Sam Pearson, a third year doctor of physical therapy students, is Schrank’s co-race director. Pearson views the race as a great opportunity to promote the department’s mission of health and wellness and to support the Green Circle vision.

“Commuter trails are important,” said Pearson, who is from Cincinnati, Ohio. “There are not a lot of safe places to ride and walk. People really appreciate having a safe place to exercise without worrying about getting hit by cars or even driving their cars.”

The race is put on by the department, Winchester Parks and Recreation, and Shenandoah Valley Runners, who all know how much it means to residents, Schrank said.

The city’s Green Circle Committee has been meeting and ushering the circle along since 2004, though the concept was being considered awhile before that, said, Tim Youmans, Winchester Planning Director and head of the committee. When it is complete, the six-mile circle will link points of interest throughout the city and its environs.

“The Green Circle is a concept at this point,” Youmans said. “There are sections of the trail that are complete, but it is far from being something that somebody could complete a loop on. It does not exist in many areas.”

Designs are being made for the stretch of the trail that will connect East Pall Mall Street to East Cecil Street, he said. There is a steep grade there that switchbacks will need to be incorporated into.

The city is also tying in the route designation for the downtown area between South Kent Street and West Boscawen Street as part of the downtown strategic plan that is going before City Council for consideration again later this month, Youmans said.

“It is a very expensive proposition to build a dedicated trail, particularly of the size we are envisioning,” he said.

Information

For more information or to register, contact 540-664-2027 or go to facebook.com/winchestergreencircle5k.

— Contact Laura McFarland at lmcfarland@winchesterstar.com.