News and notes from Fredericksburg's entertainment scene
The Amazing Race: Historic Half is back in the ‘Burg
BY EMILY FREEHLING
For the fifth year in a row, runners from all over the U.S. and nine other countries will lace up this Sunday to hit the starting line of the Marine Corps Historic Half race, which starts and finishes on Carl D. Silver Parkway in Celebrate Virginia and takes runners on a 13.1-mile tour of Fredericksburg.
The race field has grown to nearly 8,000 from the 5,800 runners who ran the inaugural half-marathon back in 2008.
Star power has also increased. Actor and comedian Drew Carey was the official starter and a race competitor last year, and this year organizers have lined up soap star and “Biggest Loser” host Alison Sweeney, who will start and compete in the race.
As they cross the finish line, runners will be treated to a concert by Lt. Col. Mike Corrado of the Marines. Corrado is on active duty as operations officer for the Wounded Warrior regiment at Marine Corps Base Quantico.
He has won national acclaim for his musical talents, and is known for his singles “Stand” and “On My Watch Tonight.” Corrado has been featured on national networks and in Rolling Stone magazine, and he has opened for acts including the Black Eyed Peas, Bon Jovi and John Mayer.
Corrado and Sweeney are just some of the special entertainment that organizers have in store for the fifth anniversary of the race, which has made Fredericksburg the centerpiece of one of the biggest half-marathons in Virginia.
“We’ve had so many runners come back after the first and second year,” said Tami Faram, spokeswoman for the race. “It’s one of the largest half-marathons in the commonwealth, and it’s becoming one of the largest on the East Coast.”
Some signature attractions bringing runners back year after year are . Faram said participants often remark on the huge American flag displayed over Cowan Boulevard on giant ladder trucks, a production made possible by the Fredericksburg Fire Department and the Chancellor volunteer Fire and Rescue.
Along the course, entertainment—including bands, cheerleading squads, residents on their front porches and attractions like Stardust the miniature horse and therapy-dog petting stations—add uniqueness to the race.
All of this helps take the focus off the fact that the Fredericksburg course is a tough one, with many elevation changes. The hill behind Mary Washington Hospital is the most famous challenge on the course, but watch out for the second pass up Cowan Boulevard, too—it’s deceptively steep.
At the start of this year’s race, competitors will be treated to a flyover of four vintage aircraft by the Flying Circus Airshow out of Bealeton.
Whether participating in the race or not, everyone is invited to the free Healthy Lifestyle Expo in the days preceding the race. The Expo is open 4–8p.m. Friday, May 18, and Saturday, May 19, from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the Fredericksburg Expo & Conference Center.
It includes local and national vendors of health- and fitness-related products.
The city of Fredericksburg will offer free shuttles between the downtown area and the expo on Saturday from 11 a.m. until 8:30 p.m.
The shuttles will transport to three downtown locations: the William Street side of Hurkamp Park; the 700 block of Caroline Street directly across from the Fredericksburg Visitor Center; and 925 Caroline St. in front of the River Run Antique Mall.
For the race’s fifth anniversary, Del Fosse Vineyards & Winery of Faber will be on hand with two specially labeled bottles of wine made for the event.
The two wines are Star Spangled White, a blend of chardonnay, sauvignon blanc and viognier, and Patriot Blue, a pinot gris. These wines will be available for tasting and purchase at the expo and the winery.
And if you don’t want to brave the road closures or hop on the trolley shuttles to navigate Fredericksburg during the race, the Historic Half is offering a new way to keep track of your favorite runners.
Organizers are débuting a Web-based runner tracking system, which can broadcast runner splits by email, text and social media. This service was first provided at the Marine Corps Marathon this past fall.
Runners can register for the tracking at marinemarathon.com free of charge through Saturday.
Whether you plan to watch the race from the course, from a front porch party with friends or from- the comfort of your laptop, the fun begins Sunday with a 7 a.m. start.