By Jamie Hall ~ Southeast Missourian
A pair of benefit runs could bring more than 200 runners to Cape Girardeau today and Sunday.
The Vicky Keller 5K run is expected to attract about 80 runners for its 3.1-mile downtown course today. The fourth annual event starts at 4:30 p.m. and will send runners down Spanish Street, Broadway, Main Street and Good Hope Street. Runners will make three laps around the 1-mile course.
The City of Roses Half-Marathon, which begins at 7 a.m. Sunday, will send more than 100 runners on a 13.1-mile run on a course at Arena Park.
With cool weather and two mostly-flat courses, it could be a weekend of quick times.
"You'll usually see quicker times, unless you've trained to run in warmer weather," said Bill Logan, who coordinated today's 5K event. Both the 5K and half-marathon are Cape Girardeau Road Runners Club events.
"Having it this time of year also helps with participation," Logan said. "When you have a run in the spring or the fall when the weather's nice, that usually appeals to more people."
Today's event benefits a scholarship fund established in the name of Vicky Keller, a longtime runner from Cape Girardeau who collapsed while watching members of her family compete in a 5K run in 1999. She died two days later. Her husband, Ron, and daughter, Carlen, plan to compete in today's race.
"It brings back memories, since Vicky was a runner, too," said Ron Keller, 47, who has won his age group in the first three Vicky Keller 5K races. "I haven't missed one of these yet. I haven't really trained much lately, but I don't want to miss it."
Art Waddle of Poplar Bluff, Mo., and Cindy Sprigg of Cape Girardeau were the overall men's and women's winners last year. Logan said both are expected to compete today, as will Sue Burton, a Cape Girardeau runner coming off an eighth-place finish at the World Duathlon Championships this summer.
Burton and Jay Orr of Ballwin, Mo., won titles a year ago in the half-marathon, an event that benefits the American Cancer Society.
Logan said only a handful of athletes will compete in both events this weekend.
"It's hard to come back and run a half-marathon a day after running hard in a 5K," Logan said. "What happens a lot is that a family will come to Cape for the weekend to compete; one family member will run the 5K, and another will run the half-marathon."
Both events this weekend also include a mile walk. Entries are accepted on the day of the race.
335-6611, extension 174