Rain or shine, Ellerbe Marathon will go on

24th annual event set for 8 a.m. start Saturday

By Kevin Spradlin

* List of entrants
Run Richmond
* Ellerbe Marathon photos from 2014
* Next up: Hoofing it for Haiti 5K

Registration is open through tonight’s pre-race pasta, but so far 79 people have registered for the 24th annual Ellerbe Marathon.

The 26.2-mile footrace through the town of Ellerbe and up and down the countryside is scheduled to begin at 8 a.m. Saturday at Mount Pleasant Community Building on Grassy Island Road. Last year, 78 people crossed the finish line of the Mangum Track Club event but they enjoyed picture-perfect weather from start to finish.

The Weather Channel's forecast suggests it's going to rain tomorrow on the participants of the 24th annual Ellerbe Marathon.

The Weather Channel’s forecast suggests it’s going to rain tomorrow on the participants of the 24th annual Ellerbe Marathon. The race starts at 8 a.m. on Grassy Island Road.

Tomorrow could offer anything but perfection. While The National Weather Service forecasts a 20 percent chance of rain, The Weather Channel suggests rain is 60 to 70 percent likely from the 8 a.m. start through at least 5 p.m. In 2014, only 16 runners finished the course under four hours — by noon — and the slowest finisher took 9 hours, 26 minutes and 27 seconds.

The start-time temperature is to be about 57 degrees and reach a high of 70 at around 2 p.m., six hours into the event, directed by Hamlet resident Mark Long and assisted by aid station captain Jerry Lindstrand, of Rockingham.

Thirteen of the 78 registered runners — slightly more than 16 percent of the field — are Richmond County residents. Forty of them — 51.2 percent — have earned the right to be called members of the host Mangum Track Club, based in Richmond County. To become a member, athletes must complete a scheduled 15-mile “shirt run” from Mangum to the outskirts of Ellerbe that club officials organized a few times each year.

Only two runners — Don Covington, 61, of Rockingham, and Rick French, 62, of Taylorsville — have 20 or more Ellerbe Marathon finishes. Covington is the only runner to have completed all 23 previous Ellerbe Marathon events. With a finish this year, Tom Torkildsen, 59, of Matthews, will have 20 Ellerbe Marathon official times while Jose Santos, 59, of Mint Hill, will have 19. Richard Lassiter, 49, of Hamlet, would have 16 finishes with a start and finish tomorrow.

County runners attempting the race on Saturday include:

* Rosemary Baxley, 52, of Hamlet
* Eric Bean, 27, of Hamlet
* Sherri Caudler, 53, of Ellerbe
* Don Covington, 61, of Rockingham
* Doug Dawkins, 62, of Rockingham
* Audrey Eaton, 48, of Rockingham
* Chris Kubiak, 52, of Rockingham
* Richard Lassiter, 49, of Hamlet
* David McKay, 51, of Rockingham
* John Porter, 49, of Rockingham
* Justine Seabolt, 46, of Rockingham
* Duke Smith, 39, of Rockingham
* Lee Watson, 61, of Hamlet

This year’s event is being timed by The Pee Dee Post. Results and photos will be published on PeeDeePost.com Saturday evening.

Filed in: Ellerbe/Norman, Featured News, Hamlet, Latest Headlines, Outdoors, Rockingham, Sports

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