Lynchburg, VA - Thursday night kicked off this region's landmark road race in downtown Lynchburg. For the first time packet pick up for thousands of Genworth Virginia Ten Miler runners started on a Thursday, at the Amazement Square's Warehouse.
And there was lots of excitement because this year is such a special one
For 40 years runners have come from near and far to hit the pavement, and complete those ten, grueling, Hill City miles.
For runners taking part in this weekend's Genworth Virginia Ten Miler, the training, stopped here, at their packet pick-up.
"It's an opportunity for runners, walkers, our sponsors, to celebrate the weekend" said Jeff Fedorko, the Race Director.
Fedorko says registration this year became a party, complete with music, food, and fun for a Runners' Social. The special occasion, is obvious.
"This is the 40th anniversary of the Genworth Virginia Ten Miler and many people are here from 26 different states" said Fedorko.
Not to mention eight different countries. In its 40th year, the Genworth Virginia 10 Miler has managed to exceed all odds with record setting registration, more than 4400 participants pre-registered for the Amazing Mile, Four miler, and Ten Miler.
That's the most ever.
Organizers say just over ten years ago, participation plummeted. There was fear the race may not happen.
But now, talk about a comeback, "This race has become really a community happening, and one reason why we've experienced the growth we have is because it truly has something for everyone, for volunteers, for participants, and for spectators" said Fedorko.
"I know it's been going on a long time and I want to get in here and do it before I leave" said Stephen Montgomery.
Montgomery is a Lynchburg College student, and first time race runner. He was attracted to the Ten Miler as a freshman and made it a goal to run it before graduation.
"To be able to finish is going to be a good feeling, just to know that I conquered it" he said.
While the big race is Saturday morning, Friday promises to be an exciting day as well. Packet pickup starts up again and runs from noon till 5 p.m. Then it's the Amazing Mile and the family fun festival downtown on Jefferson Street.