5K race on Blennerhassett Island

By: Rich Donnelly
By: Rich Donnelly

The Ohio Valley University cross country teams have announced the annual OVU Fighting Scots Invitational cross country meet and the inaugural Debby Jamison 5K run/walk are set for Sept. 6. The uniqueness of these races involves their location, which has been designated as Blennerhassett Island Historical State Park.

The OVU Fighting Scots Invitational is open to any college and features two competitive races: a women’s 5K beginning at 5 p.m. and a men’s 8K beginning at 6 p.m. Awards will be given to the top 15 male and female finishers.

The entry fee per team is $100. The Debby Jamison 5K is projected to begin at 6:45 p.m. and consists of eight age groups: 12 and under, 13-17, 18-29, 30-39, 40-49, 50-59, 60-69 and 70 & up. Registration for the 5K begins at 3 p.m. on the island and pre-registration packets may be picked up at that time. Excluding the $8 sternwheeler ferry fee, the 5K is open and free of charge to the public, but donations benefiting the Pancreatic Cancer Action Research will be accepted.

Additionally, t-shirts and concessions will be available for purchase and awards will be given to the overall top three male and female finishers, as well as the top two in each age group participating in the Debby Jamison 5K.

The Debby Jamison 5K and OVU Fighting Scots Invitational is a dream come true and particularly special for Parkersburg native and OVU cross country coach Rick Dobson. Dobson established the 5K in honor of his sister, Debby Jamison, who passed away from pancreatic cancer three years ago.

“When someone close to you dies, you look at your life and try to think what you have done to make a mark,” Dobson said. “Debby was a devoted Christian who was a friend to everyone and always willing to help someone else. It is hard to find people of her character today.”

Dobson said reflecting on his sister’s attributes sparked an interest to make a difference in his community and establish the Debby Jamison 5K. Dobson, who grew up exploring Blennerhassett Island, said the open, country environment provides for easy visibility, creating a spectator friendly race.

“I think it is going to be a unique experience,” said Dobson. “It’s flat, grassy and there is a lot of wild life there. It is going to be a great place to have a race because you can see a lot of it.”

Dobson said this year’s Debby Jamison 5K is a huge step in the right direction to making future 5K’s a success.

The team is also sponsoring a middle school cross country meet on the island on Sept. 3 at 5 p.m.

Runners and coaches will be picked up and transferred at Point Park at 3 p.m. via the sternwheeler. Spectators will be picked up at 4 p.m. For more information, Rick Dobson may be contacted at 304-488-5963 or rickdobson33@yahoo.com.


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