GLADSTONE - The Gladstone Sports Park will be bustling with activity Saturday as it hosts the Second Annual Grand Slam Fall Classic Run.
This year's event features a major expansion with a 10-kilometer run, a half-marathon and a four-person relay in the half-marathon added to the mix.
Last year's event, comprised of a 5-K run/walk only, drew a field of 73.
Saturday's races start at 9 a.m. at Don Olsen Field. Registration begins at 7:30.
Entry fee for the 5-K is $30, 10-K ($40), half-marathon ($70) and relay ($200).
"We have 40 people registered," race director Steve O'Driscoll said in a telephone interview Thursday morning. "With a nice forecast for Saturday, we expect that number to at least double. The walk-up crowd is difficult to gauge, but we're anticipating a turnout of more than 100."
Fifteen were registered for the half-marathon, many of whom are recreational runners, according to O'Driscoll.
"The courses are all in the North Bluff area and the leaves are just starting to change color, which should make it enjoyable for the them," he said. "I know runners want the distances to be accurate, and I personally measured the five and 10-K courses with a wheel and had two GPS's when I drove over the half-marathon course. The distances are accurate, and I will stand by that."
For the finish, runners will enter Olsen Field through the gate on the first-base side and round the bases to the finish line at home plate.
"I think this is a unique feature," said O'Driscoll. "I don't know of any other race where they do this. I'm excited about long distance running coming back to Delta County, and the city is excited about supporting our event."
This marks only the second half-marathon in the area in more than a decade. The Delta County Heritage Half-Marathon, although the course was .4 mile short, was run from Gladstone to Escanaba in early July.
Expected to be on hand Saturday to offer their assistance, are the entire Board of Directors of the Gladstone High School Baseball Boosters, manager Don Lauscher and the coaches and players.
"Don is dealing with back issues, but that doesn't stop him from making a major contribution to our overall effort," said O'Driscoll. "It looks like we'll have plenty of help. Everything should be well covered."
The post-race awards ceremony is set for noon, with medals going to the top three finishers in each age division in all races.
Course maps, also showing the location of water stations and porta-toilets, are available on the Internet at www.ghsbb.weebly.com.
For more information contact O'Driscoll (428-2855 or 280-1895).