PITTSFIELD >> With Independence Day quickly approaching, more than 800 people have signed up for the 31st Annual Independence Run 5K in Pittsfield.
Mike Hogue, who had been directing the race for 30 years, has retired. This year, Ted Kellar is taking over and plans to build on the work Hogue has done as race director. In addition to Kellar, his wife Karen and Arthur Milano are helping oversee the race.
"I have worked with the race for 20 years and Hogue always did a fantastic job," Kellar said. "My wife works at Berkshire Health Systems and has been logging runners [online] for years. We offered to step up with Mike retiring."
For anyone who wants to run in the race but hasn't registered yet, they will get the chance to either online by searching "Independence Day Run" on runsignup.com, or on July 3 at Reid Middle School from 5-8 p.m. People are not able to register on the day of the race.
There will be awards handed out for the top five finishers in each of the age categories, which start at 10-and-under and go to 90-and-above. Plus, there will be a wheelchair division.
Last year, Tucker McNinch of Lenox won the race, barely beating out Mark Rabasco of Pittsfield by one second. Runners from New York, New Jersey, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, Vermont, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Washington D.C., California, Illinois, Florida, Texas, and even Harlow, England were all represented in last year's race.
The route for the race will remain the same as years past, beginning on Wahconah Street just north of Harry's Supermarket before leading runners along the parade route and finishing at Wahconah Park. For the second year in a row, runners should be looking forward to getting the opportunity to run under a sunny sky as The Weather Channel is projecting it to be about 80 degrees and cloud-free for the race.
All runners are expected to arrive at Wahconah Park between 8 and 8:30 a.m. so they are prepared to start by 9 a.m. The race will then start at 9:30 a.m. and will take about 50 minutes and there will be an estimated 1,400 runners. The first 900 registered will receive a t-shirt.
Race results will be posted at Wahconah Park and online at Plattsys.com.