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Mayberry Half-Marathon to make its return

After being sidelined by the pandemic in 2020, Mount Airy’s largest running event is picking up the pace right where it left off in 2019.

Although the 2021 version of the Mayberry Half Marathon, 10K and 5K is not scheduled to be held until Nov. 13, hundreds of people have already signed up for it, according to city Parks and Recreation Director Darren Lewis.

“Currently, we have 530 individuals registered representing 19 states,” Lewis reported earlier this week.

While many such races draw only local interest, the Mayberry Half Marathon, 10K and 5K enjoys a much wider reach, said Lewis, whose rec department coordinates the series of runs now in its 13th year.

He mentioned that the states represented by participants who have signed up so far include Oregon, Colorado, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Michigan, North Carolina and New York in addition to those from throughout the Southeast.

Among the reasons for the event’s popularity are its fast, flat course that promotes quicker times than runs elsewhere, making use of the Granite City Greenway system.

The 2019 runner participation, numbering 820, was a record for the Mayberry Half-Marathon, 10K and 5K, which broke the previous all-time high for race registrants of 721 in 2018.

When last year’s event was cancelled due to safety reasons surrounding COVID-19, organizers announced that runners who had signed up for it would have their registration deferred and reserved for spots this year.

Format for races

The three different runs involved start in staggered formats in the heart of downtown Mount Airy.

Participants begin on Main Street and take a left onto Pine Street, another left on Riverside Drive and then a right into Riverside Park. All runners access the greenway and turn around and finish at the trailhead in Riverside Park.

Packet pickups will be conducted at Thirsty Souls Community Brewing downtown. A new attraction this year involves Duck Donuts being on site at the finish line, Lewis noted.

The Mayberry Half-Marathon, 10K and 5K “is making a major impact in our community,” the parks and recreation director observed regarding its economic impact on lodging, dining and retail components.

“Sports tourism continues to be a major focus in the recreation field.”



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