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Andrea Gamache (center) crosses the finish line of the Semper Fred 5K in Central Park during last year's event.
Sherri Annan of Virginia Beach enjoys a sprinkler
The sixth annual Marine Corps Historic Half Marathon field is limited to 8,000 runners. Registration for the 2013 event opened Wednesday. Last year's race sold out.
BY LINDLEY ESTES
This year's Marine Corps Historic Half Marathon in Fredericksburg will be Jill Raspen's first race.
The 38-year-old eighth-grade teacher from Rockville, Md., lost 107 pounds last year and said running the half marathon "proves I'm back. I'm healthy and happy."
Registration for the sixth annual Historic Half Marathon on May 19 opened at noon Wednesday, with two other events on the docket.
Tami Faram, spokeswoman for the Historic Half, said the earlier registration time allows runners more time to prepare.
Raspen chose the 13.1-mile race because the May date allows her to properly train, and because her sister lives in Fredericksburg.
Currently, she's running three miles four times a week and one longer six-mile run on weekends. She plans to increase the length of her runs every week.
For those who are not ready to run 13.1 miles, there are two other races this year.
The two shorter events take place on the same morning as the half and still offer the challenge of running up the hill by Mary Washington Hospital's emergency room entrance. That hill has become the most-talked about feature of the Historic Half course.
"People can run any one distance on the same day and everyone can test their mettle on Hospital Hill that day," Faram said.
One of the events, new this year, is the Historic 10K. This 6.2-mile race begins at Maury Street and ends at the Historic Half finish line in Celebrate Virginia. It is open to anyone 8 years old and up.
The Semper Fred 5K will have a new start, on the U.S. 1 Bypass near the Wells Fargo Bank at Fall Hill Avenue. The 5K is open to all ages.
Both races are open to 1,000 participants each.
The Historic Half Marathon is open to 8,000 runners. Last year, the event sold out.
Each of the events ends at the Expo Center at Celebrate Virginia.
Faram said the common finish line allows groups to run in multiple races but meet when their races are run.
Also new this year is a bRUNch 5K on the Saturday before the race.
This race and brunch at the Expo Center will have a special registration date to be announced closer to the race date, with a limited number of participants.
The annual Healthy Lifestyle Expo returns this year on May 17 from 4 to 8 p.m. and May 18 from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the Fredericksburg Expo & Conference Center.
At the expo, which highlights healthy-lifestyle vendors and is open to the public, runners in all three races can pick up their packets, which include an official bib with timing device, a competitor shirt and an event program.
Lindley Estes: 540/735-1976