Racing to get a view of Fredericksburg

Runners and other visitors will take on the historic Virginia town this weekend

May 14, 2010|By Shruti Rastogi, The Baltimore Sun

About 7,000 runners will take to the streets at 7 a.m. Sunday to run in the sold-out Marine Corps Historic Half, a Civil War-era-themed 13.1-mile race through Fredericksburg, Va.

The Semper Fred 5K will begin shortly after, at 7:15 a.m. The Marine Corps Historic Half started in 2008. Keeping with the Civil War theme, a musket shot signals the start of the race.

Doris McClure, a 61-year-old resident of Baltimore, has run the half-marathon since its first year.

"I like the course itself," McClure said. "It's a nice route going through historic Fredericksburg. … Between miles 10 and 12, there's a nice little uphill, which is a bit of a challenge."

She has a personal goal of finishing in 2 hours, 40 minutes, and believes the course's four-hour time limit is enough for someone to walk the course at a reasonable pace.

"Our mission is to instill physical fitness and provide good community good will," said Angela Huff, the deputy director of the Marine Corps Marathon and the race coordinator for the Marine Corps Historic Half. "We try to get people off of the couch."

Huff was continually asked by Marine Corps Marathon participants for a half-marathon. She says she thought, "We have 30,000 runners for the marathon. … OK, let's offer something to the runners so they can use this as a training run."

Steve Landess, a 44-year-old resident of Baltimore, will be running his first half-marathon and is using the weekend to help prep for the Marine Corps Marathon in Washington in October and to spend time with his son, who wants to be a Marine.

Landress, who served in the Navy, said, "It's a good cause to run for: Marine Corps Injured Warrior Fund."

Huff hopes to make this a certified green race. She wants the half-marathon to get the same silver medal the 2009 Marine Corps Marathon got from the Council for Responsible Sport after reducing its landfill waste by 32 percent over the previous year's event. Some adaptations for this year's Historic Half are eco-friendly bibs containing wildflower seeds and iGiftBags that allow runners to download their gifts.

Kimberly Herbert, the conference sales and services specialist for the department of tourism of Fredericksburg, had other weekend suggestions:

•The Healthy Lifestyle Expo will be 4 p.m.-8 p.m. today and 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Saturday.

•On Saturday, a free shuttle bus will take visitors to the downtown historic area.

•The Marine Corps Band will perform a free concert at the historic Market Square from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday.

•Hurkamp Park will host its free 38th annual Fredericksburg Art Festival on Saturday and Sunday.

•Visitors can take a 75-minute historic trolley tour. Tickets are available at the Fredericksburg Visitor Center: $17 for adults, $8 for children ages 5 to 12 years, and free for children younger than 5.

•Other attractions are the Rising Sun Tavern, Hugh Mercer Apothecary Shop, the Mary Washington House, Kenmore Plantation, Fredericksburg/Spotsylvania National Military Park and the historic district, which has shops, boutiques and chef-owned restaurants.

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