When runners gather Saturday for this year’s Med Center Health 10K Classic, they’ll mark the event’s 40th annual running.
Doris Thomas, vice president of development at Med Center Health, often hears from fans of the 6.2-mile race who say it’s helped create a walking or running habit in their daily lives.
Over the years, the event has expanded, adding a 10K wheelchair race, 5K run or walk and a 1.5-mile Children’s Classic fun walk.
“We often say this is the race for everyone,” Thomas said. “We have an event that most everyone can participate in.”
When it started in 1979, the race was known as the Wendy’s 10K Classic. In 1988, the race was renamed The Bowling Green 10K Classic and continued to draw thousands from around the world to participate, according to the race’s website at themedicalcenter10k classic.com. In 2000, The Medical Center became its title sponsor.
More than 1,300 people have registered for this year’s event. Online registration closed Wednesday, but registration may also be completed on-site the day of the race or at the Health and Fitness Expo, which will be from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Friday at The Medical Center-WKU Health Sciences Complex.
During the expo, The Medical Center will provide free health screenings, including tests to measure lung function, circulatory health and blood pressure screening and body fat composition, among others.
In conjunction with the expo, a pre-race pasta dinner complete with high-carb foods will be served and is free to those who present their race number at the door.
The main 10K race is set to begin at 8:15 a.m. Saturday. Through this year’s Cash Drawing, five $1,000 awards and two $500 Early Bird awards will be up for grabs. Eligibility for the Early Bird drawing means participants need to have registered by July 31. Also new this year, all participants who finish the race will receive a medal with a design featuring Bowling Green’s iconic water tower.
Runners will follow a route that begins at Western Kentucky University, winds through downtown Bowling Green and then finishes at WKU’s Houchens-Smith Stadium.
The route is similar to last year’s, with one change being that the start line has moved to the front of E.A. Diddle Arena on the Avenue of Champions, Thomas said.
The morning’s events begin with the 5K run or walk at 7:30 a.m. followed by the 10K wheelchair race at 8:10 a.m. The Children’s Classic begins at 9:30 a.m. for fourth through sixth grades and 9:45 a.m. for kindergarten through third grade.
Since taking over the event in 2000, Thomas said it has grown to fit Med Center Health’s mission.
“Our mission is to care for people and to improve the quality of life in the communities we serve,” she said.
Promoting active lifestyles is key to that, Thomas said.
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