Apple Blossom Festival 10K race continues to grow

When Rosie Schiavone took over as the Apple Blossom Festival 10K race director 19 years ago, her goal was to see the race grow and it certainly has.

The 10K race — 10 kilometers or 6.2 miles in length — will be held Saturday at 8:30 a.m., starting and ending at Handley High School.

“When I took it on 19 years ago it was our hope to have 1,000 people run the 10K, and we have exceeded that for quite a number of years,” Schiavone said earlier this week. “So that’s good.”

She said that one of the biggest changes over the years has been the addition of the Kids Bloomin Mile.

“This is the 14th annual Kids Bloomin Mile and that was something we started just so kids could have a race of their own,” Schiavone said. “It’s for 6-14 year olds and that has really grown, and we have over 1,000 kids in that race now. It’s a very large kids race so that’s exciting.”

The Kids Bloomin Mile, also held at Handley, will be at 4 p.m., Friday.

Schiavone said she’s been really pleased with how that event has grown.

“That we have over 1,000 kids and the fact that I would say they’re probably 99 percent local kids — that’s amazing that we have that many.”

Schiavone said there aren’t many changes to the 10K race this year. It will be the same course, and she’s expecting around 1,200 entrants.

She said they have added one more division this year — and 80-and-over category.

“In the past we ended it with a 75-and-over, but we’re adding an 80-and-over,” Schiavone said. “We’ll have a 75-79 (division) and 80-and-over, because our runners have gotten older. And they’re still running, which is great. We have quite a few 80-plus runners.”

Preregistration and online registration for the 10K race ended Tuesday. However, runners can register on Friday from 1:30-3:45 or Saturday between 7-8:15 a.m.

There are awards given out to male and female in 15 different age divisions. There are also awards, including prize money, for the top five males and females as well as Masters and Grand Masters awards.

Runners Retreat, located in Winchester, also sponsors awards for the top two U.S. male and female winners.

Schiavone said that the race brings in about four to six elite runners each year. Last year, Sammy Too, 27, of Chapel Hill, North Carolina, was the overall winner in a time of 29:08. There were 1,267 runners who finished the race.

Schiavone said that the Shenandoah Valley Runners also play a big part in the success of the event.

She said they want to continue to increase the number of runners they have each year, and she thinks they have the ability to do that.

Schiavone said the fact that it’s a 10K is also special.

“In the running world 5K’s are run, half marathons are run, marathons are run, but you don’t see a whole lot of 10K’s anymore,” Schiavone said. “So that’s really cool that we have a 10K.”

Contact staff writer Tommy Keeler at 540-465-5137 ext. 168, or