The Run The Reagan road race has continued to grow despite less-than-stellar weather conditions, a trend race organizer Tom Mayfield hopes will continue this year. Though he knows the weather will be far from balmy on Saturday, Mayfield refuses to check out the forecast.
"I'm still not looking, man," Mayfield said with a laugh. "But people are telling me it's not a great forecast.
"People have e-mailed us to ask what to do if there is ice on the roads. We want everyone to be safe -- nobody needs to do anything crazy -- but this is a rain or shine event."
Race director Skip Breeser said 2,200 people have registered for the event, which includes 5K and 10K races as well as a half marathon. If the weather cooperates he estimates another 800 people will register on site, giving the event similar numbers to last year.
This is the fifth year since the race was reinstituted, and it has grown each year despite getting little help from Mother Nature. This year doesn't look any different, with snow forecast for today and blustery conditions expected Saturday. While cold weather won't scare away hardcore runners, it does cut into the number of casual runners who enter to support the two charities that benefit from the event -- Young Life and the Gwinnett Community Clinic.
"Based on the weather we've had the last few years, God knows what is coming," Breeser said. "A little cold won't hurt a runner, although a couple of feet of snow might."
Runners are asked to check the Web site -- www.RuntheReagan.net -- on Saturday for weather updates. Runners are no longer able to register online, but there will be registration today from noon to 8 p.m. at Grace Fellowship Church in Snellville. Registration is also available on race day, beginning at 6 a.m.
Run The Reagan prides itself on being a family-oriented event, and will again have a Family Festival area near the finish line that will be open from 8 a.m. to noon. There will be inflatables for the kids to play on along with music and other activities. Emory Eastside Medical Center will also have a large presence and will be giving H1N1 shots for the first 300 people, providing bone density scans and providing a podiatrist to help with proper shoe fitting.