A record number of runners turned out for the Mayberry Half-Marathon and two associated races on Saturday.
More than 450 participants, a field which was composed of nearly equal numbers of males and females, took part in the half-marathon, 10k or 5k race. More than 250 ran in the half-marathon, according to the race’s website. Runners came from as far as Ohio and Florida.
The race was the ninth of its kind and began at 8 a.m. in front of the Main Oak Emporium on Main Street.
A Mayberry patrol car and Casey Vedder — on his bicycle — led runners along city streets to Riverside Park, where runners entered the city’s greenway to finish out their respective races. Runners could choose from the 13.1-mile half-marathon, the 6.2-mile 10k or the 3.1-mile 5k.
Runners in the half-marathon ran south along the Ararat River Greenway and the new greenway connector, running nearly to Veterans Memorial Park along the Emily B. Taylor Greenway before turning around and heading back.
10k runners turned around at the point at which the greenway travels below U.S. 52, and 5k runners turned around prior to where the greenway travels beneath Hamburg Street.
Water points peppered the course, and breakfast foods were served at the finish line at Riverside Park.
The race benefits the Mount Airy Parks and Recreation Department, and race spokesman for the department Darren Lewis said this year’s course favored runners.
“The course has changed this year and will be a flat and fast course beginning at Main Oak Emporium,” explained Lewis prior to the race.
Prior Mayberry Half-Marathons had led runners north along Ward’s Gap Road.
Adults were charged a registration fee of $45 for the half-marathon, $35 for the 10K and $30 for the 5K, while youths under 18 can register for any of the three for $20.
Proceeds from the race go toward helping the Mount Airy Parks and Recreation Department maintain its many programs,
Cash prizes went to the top overall male and female finishers. Non-monetary awards were given to top finishers in each age division, and age divisions ranged from 10 and under to 70 and older. Those participating in the half-marathon received custom medals.
Results from Saturday’s race were not immediately available.
Andy is a staff writer and may be reached at 415-4698.