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Ready, set, GO!!!
Jimmy Carroll Martin Jr
File photo Over 200 runners will descend on downtown Viola Saturday for the seventh annual Viola Valley Half Marathon. Jimmy Carroll Martin Jr. is shown here doing the airplane during last year's event.

Runners can finally rejoice. The long wait is almost over.

The seventh annual Viola Valley Half Marathon, one of the most popular races in Warren County each year, is set for Saturday at 7 a.m. Over 200 runners are already registered, with race organizers encouraging late additions to the field.

“We're capable of having a field of over 350,” said Kevin Deason, one of the race organizers. “We have plenty of spots still available.”
The field already has registered runners from 11 states, some coming from as far as Hawaii, Colorado and Wyoming. It’s not a shock to race organizers, who over the years have seen the allure of the scenic course warm the hearts of runners.

“We've pretty well marked off all 50 states over the last seven years,” said Deason. “People love the valley, love the course and love to run."
In a crowded field of competitive runners, last year’s top female finisher came from McMinnville. Anne Myers, a recent Boston Marathon participant, finished the 13.1-mile course in 1:42:33. Winchester resident Eric Shull is the defending overall winner, blistering the route – which loops through parts of Warren, Coffee and Grundy Counties – in 1:21.39.

Registration links can be found on the event’s Facebook page. The cost is $50. Event organizers will register runners on site Saturday morning, but encourage any last-minute signups to arrive early.

"We'll be set up under the grandstands at 5:30 a.m. to take in any walk-ups for the race," said Deason.

The race is set to begin with a shotgun start at 7 a.m.