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The Roanoke Canal Half Marathon and 8K is back and registration is underway.

The race is set for March 30 and while runners can register the day of the race, February 14 is the last day to register for the half marathon at $60 or the 8K at $30, Assistant Parks and Recreation Director Kelly Manning said this week.

(Registration can be completed online at this link. Registration the day of the race begins at 6 a.m. at the Roanoke Rapids Lake Park on Oakwood Avenue. The half marathon begins at 8 a.m. and the 8K begins at 8:30 a.m. Those wanting to assist with water stations or checkpoints are encouraged to call Ryan Newsome at the Canal Museum at 252-533-2847 extension 6. Runners who register before March 15 will receive a T-shirt)

March 30 marks the return of the race after a two-year hiatus, parks and recreation Director John Simeon said. “The former race director had some personal issues which required him to scale back the races. We’ve been looking for someone to help us with the timing and found someone we were comfortable in working with us.”

The last race, Simeon said, drew in runners from 12 states and three countries, “which economically assists our city with hotels and restaurants being utilized.”

The Halifax Convention and Visitors Bureau; Reser’s; Get Fit Stay Fit Roanoke Valley — part of the Roanoke Valley Community Health Initiative — Friends of the Canal and the Canal Commission are sponsoring the event.

Run the East is serving as the timing organization for the event.

“We’re excited to bring back to the community this special event,” Simeon said. “Our department always looks forward to putting it on. It’s a great family atmosphere where people have the opportunity to compete against themselves. Everyone looks to gain something different whether it’s completing the race or enjoying the companionship of others enjoying the trail.”

Justin Kerr, who will run the half, said, “I like the fact it brings attention to one of the coolest historical places we have in Roanoke Rapids. It brings people from out of town into our community.”

Kerr said he runs the race “more for recreation and mental health. It’s a good time to clear your thoughts with nature.”

Medals will be given out to all finishers of the half.

New to the race this year will be handmade wooden plaques with the race date and batteaux men navigating the canal with goods transferred on them. These will be given to the first, second and third place winners from every division of the race.

These are being crafted by Ryan Newsome, who is the cultural resources leader of the Canal Museum.

Newsome is also making replica batteaux for the first, second and third place overall winners of the race.

“The awards will be very unique and centered around the trail,” Simeon said.

“When we talked to the running company they really got excited about the unique prize,” Manning said.

“It’s a very good marketing tool that individuals will able to take from the race,” said Simeon.