By Scott Kindberg
At an early steering committee meeting for the Lucy Town Half Marathon and 5K, David Reinhardt remembers Kevin Saff, the executive director of Jamestown Area Medical Associates, making a suggestion.
It was all of five words long.
''Kevin said, 'Go big, or go home,''' said Reinhardt, the competition director for the two road races, which will be held this weekend in Jamestown. ''We took that and planned it, not just for the 5K or the half-marathon, but we have a weekend of events going on.''
If the numbers are any indication, it should be quite a weekend, indeed.
According to the latest figures, more than 600 people have registered to run, including participants from 25 states and two Canadian provinces.
''When we first put some numbers together and some projections, we were hoping for 600 runners,'' Reinhardt said Tuesday afternoon. ''We're at 380 for the half-marathon, 245 for the 5K and we had 14 registrations that came in today. I'm feeling pretty good that we're going to hit the numbers we set.''
The 5K race will be held at 10 a.m. on Saturday, while the half-marathon will be held at 9 a.m., on Sunday. Comedian Martin Short will also be performing during the race weekend, taking the stage at the Reg Lenna Center for the Arts at 7:30 p.m., on Saturday. In addition, there will be several activities at the Jamestown Savings Bank Arena, including a happy hour/packet pickup from 5-7 p.m., on Friday and a health and wellness exposition from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, followed by a pasta dinner that evening.
''The highlight for me,'' Reinhardt said, ''is the three organizations (the Lucy Desi Center for Comedy, the Chautauqua Striders and the Jamestown Savings Bank Arena) that looked at this 16 months ago and said, 'This is what we want to do.' We've been working together - three non-profits - on an event that's going to further our missions.''
The USATF-certified half-marathon course, which begins and ends in Jamestown, runs through the neighboring towns of Lakewood and Celoron, traveling near Lucille Ball's childhood home, the Lucy Desi Center for Comedy and Museum, a fully colorized ''I Love Lucy'' mural completed last year by artists Gary Peters Jr., and Gary Peters Sr., and also by the Lucille Ball Memorial Park.
''When I tell people that the course is relatively flat and it's in Jamestown, they don't believe it,'' Reinhardt said. ''There's only 287 feet of elevation, and most of it is in the first mile.''
Univera Healthcare is the presenting sponsor for the weekend's events. Local organizations, including WCA Hospital, Jamestown Pediatrics, The Legend Group, and Jamestown Area Medial Associates are also sponsoring the race.
Lucy Town organizers are still seeking groups or individuals to serve as event volunteers. A wide variety of positions are needed, including everything from registering athletes to providing water during the race. For more information, for show tickets for Martin Short or to register for the races, visit www.lucyrace.com.