ALTON – Thanksgiving weekend in the Riverbend means many, many traditions.
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Family get-togethers. Football games on television. Getting together to start the holiday shopping season.
And the annual Great River Road Run.
The Alton Road Runners Club's 58th edition of the 10-mile competitive run and two-mile fun run is taking entries for the Nov. 25 event along the Great River Road in Alton, the club's biggest fund-raising event each year.
“We use the run to fund all the other events we put on during the year,” said club president Russ Colona, “things like our Summer Running Series (which introduces youngsters to running), our Summer Track Series (which introduces younger runners to track events) and our Cross Country Runner of the Year Banquet (set for Nov. 19 this year at the Bluff City Grill in downtown Alton, which honors cross-country runners from area schools at the end of the season).”
The Thanksgiving weekend run dates back to 1960. “It's a holiday tradition here,” Colona said. “We've had families taking part in the run for many years and we've had participants from 25 states; a lot of folks come back on the weekend to visit family and also take part in the run.”
Colona estimated that some 200 people have signed up for this year's run thus far, but is hoping for a good turnout to this year's race. “We would like to have a bigger turnout this year,” Colona said. “We'll be taking entries up to race day.”
The course is one of the more scenic courses around; the run takes place on the Great River Road leading to Jersey County and back to the starting points, next to the Mississippi and to bluffs surrounding the area.
Registration is now being taken on-line; for the 10-mile race, the fee is $40 until race day, when the fee will be $50. For the two-mile run, the fee is $15 for those 17 and under and $25 for those 18 and over. For more information on the club and the race, or to register for the race, visit www.altonroadrunners.com.