By Tommy Keeler Jr.
WINCHESTER -- Two years ago, Mark Stickley, owner of Runner's Retreat in Winchester, wanted to do something special in honor of the 150th anniversary of the Civil War. So after thinking about it, Stickley decided to do a scavenger hunt race involving the Civil War. Two years later, the event is still going strong.
The Civil War Sesquicentennial Race will be held Saturday from 7:30 a.m. to 10 a.m. All of the clues in the race involve the Civil War in Winchester, whether that's a cannon somewhere, or a gravesite, or a street sign.
"I just wanted to do something running related to the Civil War," Stickley said. "I thought the scavenger hunt would be a good thing, and it could tie in with the Civil War."
Participants can sign up in advance or on race day at Runner's Retreat or online at www.runnersretreat.com. Registration on Saturday is from 6:30 a.m.-7:15 a.m. The race begins at 7:30 a.m. from Runner's Retreat. Each runner receives a set of clues, a coolmax T-shirt, a water bottle and a race number.
The race in run in two-person tandems, and both will receive a race packet with a number of Civil War brochures and a map of Winchester. Participants need a digital camera or cell phone to photograph yourselves at each location. Participants can also use a smartphone or GPS to help solve the clues.
Once the participants solves a clue they walk or run to that spot, take a picture and then head to the next clue.
There are also two courses that participants can choose from -- a short course and a medium course. With the short course the total mileage should be around five miles. With the medium course total mileage should be between 12 and 15 miles.
Teams will be presented a series of clues during the race instruction period from 7:15 a.m.-7:30 a.m. In the unlikely event of a tie, each team will be presented with a tiebreaker clue. The top three teams in each division (short or medium course) will each receive an award.
"I think as running has become more popular over the last few years, these style of races are becoming more popular," Stickley said. "It's just something different."
Stickley said he has made some tweaks to the race this year, and he thinks it will be even better this year. He said last year the heat was really bad on the day of the race, but he thinks with the early start and the forecast it should be much better this year.
Stickley said he's had a lot of positive feedback from the runners the last two years.
"It's been very well received," Stickley said. "Obviously, it's very low-key. It's more just for fun."
Stickley said he's had about 50 runners each of the last two years, and he's hoping for another solid turnout Saturday.
"It's something different to do," Stickley said. "I think it's just something that people can come to and have fun with it."
Contact Assistant Sports Editor Tommy Keeler at 540-465-5137 ext. 155, or email@example.com