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Published: Saturday, 9/25/2004

Ninth annual Toledo Classic 10K race set for downtown

BY DAN SAEVIG
BLADE SPORTS WRITER

In the mid-1980s, 10K road races were all the rage.

It seemed as though everyone with a pair of running shoes and shorts would enter one of the numerous weekend events throughout the area, pay his entry fee and get a tee shirt.

Tomorrow morning at 9, one of the few remaining links to those days - the ninth annual Toledo Classic 10K Road Race and Dual Relay - will be held downtown.

Created to replace the Blade Classic, which during its peak would draw up to 3,000 entrants, Toledo Classic organizers are expecting a field of 300-350 - including some of the region's top runners - to traverse the downtown area.

"It's now one of the only 10Ks in Toledo during the year," said Classic race director Pete

Buehler.

"It seems like the 5K distances are attracting the larger fields and people are less inclined to run a 10K distance because of that."

The Classic begins on Summit Street near Madison Avenue and includes landmarks such as the SeaGate Centre, Erie Street Market, The Valentine Theatre and Fifth Third Field. It ends on Water Street behind Promenade Park.

Among those expected to participate are perennial Classic contender Paul Aufdemberge, recent Eastern Michigan University graduate Gavin Thompson, who finished third in the 2003 NCAA cross-country championships, and University of Toledo alumna Briana Shook, one of the world's top steeplechasers.

A winning time in the low 30-minute range is expected.

Although the Classic continues to draw quality runners, Buehler would love to see the sport grow with a new generation of neighborhood enthusiasts who would again make 10Ks a hot commodity.

For those who prefer the 5K distance, the Classic's Dual Relay permits two-person teams that split the 10K course.

Race-day registration will be available, beginning at 7 a.m. The cost is $20. Each Dual Relay applicant must pay the full registration fee.

Contact Dan Saevig at:

dsaevig@theblade.com.



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