Area runners wanting to race need look no further than the Chief Ladiga Trail on Feb. 26.
The 33-mile paved trail is set to host a marathon and half-marathon, both starting at 8 a.m. Feb. 26 at the Piedmont Sports Complex.
Online registration ends Feb. 20 and costs $105 for the 26.2-mile marathon and $85 for the 13.1-mile half marathon. Runners can also register on location the day of the event at $100 for the half marathon and $115 for the marathon.
The races are being organized by Atlanta-based Interstate Running LLC.
Both races will wind through downtown Piedmont before hitting the trail. Marathon runners will have to double back on the course a couple of times to get the full 26.2 miles.
Chantelle Slice, the race director, said the event currently has around 100 registered runners. Slice said she expects about 150 total participants for the new event.
Slice, who lives in Atlanta, said she founded Interstate Running last year with her husband, Malachi Slice. Both are avid runners who wanted to create a company to support the running community by organizing events.
“We’ve been running for some time ... I’ve run a marathon in all 50 states,” Chantelle Slice said. “I thought it would be good to give back.”
Slice noted that though her company is for-profit, part of the proceeds from the Ladiga event would be donated to charity.
“I haven’t decided which charity to donate to yet,” she said.
Slice said there would be medals for race winners in different age groups. However, there won’t be vendors where the races start, she said.
“This is just an inaugural race, so vendors would be a little too much,” Slice said. “We’re trying to keep it simple ... but we’re hoping to grow it in the coming years.”
Slice said she has run the Ladiga before and enjoys it and other similar rails-to-trails projects.
“I love rails-to-trails and how they go through little towns,” Slice said.
Jennifer Baker of Anniston said she’s training to run the half marathon after taking about four years off from running because of personal issues. The White Plains High School teacher said this will be her first half marathon.
“There’s not that very many of those in Calhoun County,” Baker said. “I think it’s going to be great.”
Baker said she’s running several miles a day for four or five days a week to prepare for the race. Baker said the fact that the races are on the Ladiga make them ideal for people who are thinking about starting running for the first time.
“It’s a beautiful course and it’s really good for beginners because it’s flat and it’s so close by,” Baker said.
Staff writer Patrick McCreless: 256-235-3561. On Twitter @PMcCreless_Star.