On Oct. 12, close to 1,000 people will lace up their tennis shoes and hit the pavement for either a 3.1-mile run or a 13.1-mile run. But, this run won’t be along cornfields on county roads or a trail lined with autumn-shaded trees. Runners will rev up their heart rates — not their engines — on the new U.S. 31 as part of the Highway Half, also nicknamed the “one-and-done race” hosted by Kokomo YMCA. The race will travel along U.S. 31 before it opens to traffic of a more usual kind.
Erin Larison, Kokomo YMCA relationship and communications director, said the race may be a one-time chance to run an unlikely route, but the idea was ignited by a sense of community.
“As plans for the new U.S. 31 [developed], lots of folks in the community saw it as a negative thing; and [wondered why would people] want to bypass Kokomo. [So, we teamed up with the state and the city] to take this moment and celebrate our community in a foot race on the highway,” Larison said about the race that has been in the works for a year.
While Kokomo has a few half marathon races, this one will be a highlight and Larison said the community isn’t missing its chance to be a part of it.
“A lot of the community organizations are coming out and just owning their water stops,” she said. The stops will span the race’s distance and feature bands and live entertainment, Larison added. “The Amateur Radio Club of Kokomo is joining to help us know where all the runners will be and we have pace cars from McGonigal and the cars of Kokomo Automotive Heritage Museum will also be there. It’s really neat that community organizations are coming together and saying, ‘We do believe in this.’”