By DANNY P. SMITH
A Starkville tradition continues on Saturday.
During my first tenure at The Starkville Daily News in the 1980s, there was an event just getting off the ground that showed tremendous promise.
Even though the Frostbite Half-Marathon was in its infant stages, it wasn't hard to see that things were in place for this race to become a fixture in this community.
The 26th annual edition of the Frostbite Half-Marathon takes place on Saturday and it has definitely grown each year.
In the 80s, the 13.1-mile course ran from Pheba on Highway 389 to the fire station. Since, the course was expanded to continue onto Hospital Road for the last one-half mile to the Oktibbeha County Hospital HealthPlex.
Those who chose to participate in this race at this time of the year have to be very strong-willed individuals. Their efforts are certainly admirable.
Not only does running a 13.1-mile course exhaust the body, but one never knows what the running conditions are at this time of the year.
Information provided suggests that the average temperature here for January is 41 degrees. It's probably going to be pretty close to that Saturday morning. Maybe that's why it's called Frostbite.
The endurance that it takes to run a race like a half-marathon is something that requires quite a bit of commitment.
There are days that I have a problem completing my one and a half walk or jog around the walking track at the Starkville Sportsplex multi-purpose gym, must less run a half-marathon.
Credit goes to those runners who run the race well.
The course records for the event are held by Todd Hagadone (male) with a time of 1:09.33, Elizabeth Williams (female) with a mark of 1:23.24, John Charlton (masters male) with a time of 1:15.23 and Susan Hales (masters female) with a mark of 1:39.15.
As far as this year's race, runners can pick up their packet at the Oktibbeha County Hospital HealthPlex Wellness Connection between 4 p.m.-6:45 p.m. Registration closes at 6:45 p.m.
Packet pickup continues at the Wellness Center on Saturday from 7 a.m.-11:30 a.m. The buses will load for transport to the starting line at 11:45 a.m. from the HealthPlex parking lot and depart at noon.
The race participants receive a commemorative long-sleeve t-shirt, a finish-line medal for runners who complete the full-half-marathon, post-race snacks, and the post-race party.
Fruit, beverages, whirlpool and showers will be available at the finish line at the HealthPlex. At 3:30 p.m., the buffet line at Rick's Cafe will open with free food and beverages for the runners courtesy of Rick's, Stromboli's and Papa John's. Guests must purchase tickets to be admitted to the festivities.
The awards ceremony begins at 4 p.m.
For anyone who has come to town specifically for the Frostbite, welcome to Starkville.
Here's hoping your stay will be enjoyable and productive.
Danny P. Smith is sports editor and columnist for the Starkville Daily News. The opinions in this column are his and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Daily News or its staff.