Racers await the start of last year’s Murfreesboro Half Marathon, Oct. 13, 2012, near downtown Murfreesboro. Photo by B. Mailley
The biggest road race in Murfreesboro will be held Saturday with the running of the seventh annual The Middle Half half marathon.
Approximately 3,000 runners will take to the 13.1 mile course winding around the city hoping to race to a personal record, and everyone involved with the event is ready to compete this weekend.
“We are very excited about it, especially on race day when it is happening,” said longtime race organizer Melinda Tate said. “We started seven years ago and what it has grown to become today.”
This year’s event starts bright and early at 6:55 a.m. with the five-person wheelchair race, and then five minutes later it will be the runners turn to take to the flat course, which includes several of the historical landmarks in Murfreesboro. The race will start and end inside the MTSU Dean A. Hayes Track and Soccer Stadium.
About 20 of those runners who will take part in the race are a part of a special running group, Boro2 Square. It will be led by avid runner Scott Slavens, who will be competing in his seventh event.
“We are just a community of runners who love to get out and exercise,” Slavens said.
He added the group does not get together just to prepare for a race. Instead, they meet each Wednesday at Boulevard Restaurant and start running on different paths around the city. On Wednesday, the group met one final time before the race and ran on part of the course which will be used on Saturday.
“The course is really runner friendly, flat and in the perfect time of year,” Slavens said. “All of those things combined make it a great race to get a personal record.”
As for Tate, “The Middle Half” has become a family affair in which each member of it plays an important role in putting the race together.
The race was started seven years ago after her husband Miles, who competes in several races, had always wanted to have a half marathon in Murfreesboro. Along with son Nick and daughter Natalie Gay, the family’s dream came true back several years ago.
“It has become a family event for all of us,” Melinda Tate said.
This year’s race expanded to 3,000 runners, and it sold out in two hours when sign-ups took place a few months ago.
Since then, each of the racers have been hard at work preparing for the event. Tate said runners started practicing the 13.1 mile distance two to three months ago. However, as the race day gets closer the runners practice will start to taper off.
Another factor Saturday will be the weather. Tate said she starts checking the forecast 15 days before race day. As of now, the weather looks good with temperatures in the upper 70s.
“The weather has so much to do with the success of the event,” she said. “It’s one thing that is out of our control.”
She added the runners will feel 20 degrees hotter during the race.
As for Slavens and the rest of the Boro2Square crew, they enjoy taking part each year for many reasons.
“It is a first-class event that has a lot of energy,” he said. “It has the community feel to it because there is so much support for it. It brings everybody together for this Saturday.”
Remember there will several roads that will be closed around the area during the race. Go to The Middle Half website for more information.