WHEELING - The 37th running of the Ogden Newspapers Half Marathon Classic proved to be special from start to finish for the Augusta Levy Learning Center.
Seven-year-old Jonah Hercules of Wheeling, a student at the center, served as honorary starter of the races. The North Wheeling facility will receive proceeds from Saturday's events.
In addition to Jonah starting the races, several Augusta Levy staff members ran in the 5K. They included Executive Director Kathy Shapell and her family, Jessica Duncan, Kim Nielsen, Karina Vasquez and Susan Apicella and family. Staffer Aimee Reisinger ran in the half marathon.
Photo by Fred Connors
Starting the Ogden Newspapers Half Marathon Classic Run and Walk Saturday is Jonah Hercules, 7, of Wheeling. He is a student at the Augusta Levy Learning Center.
Parents who ran were Gretchen Hercules, Patty and Steve Patrick, Mary Jo and Michael Wilkinson, Heather and Brent Kovalski and Brenda and Brett Wilson.
Another parent, Dusty Jones, participated in the half marathon along with five of his U.S. National Guard friends.
"The Augusta Levy Learning Center wants to thank the race participants for the support of our work with children with autism," Shapell said. "The runners and walkers who have contributed to this race are part of a larger community made up of our staff, parents and extended families of the children we serve; and our many university, corporate and charitable partners that enable the center to achieve life-changing results.
"The challenges the runners face in this race - such as the seemingly never-ending hills - parallel the challenges our children face in their struggle toward independent, productive lives."
She said the support of the Ogden Newspapers and other sponsors keeps the center moving toward the finish line for each child.