The city of Hopkinsville is ready and excited for the third annual Hoptown Half Marathon and 5K that is just a week away.

Hopkinsville Parks and Recreation brings back the race with some new features — and even a new route participants will run — along with some fresh ideas that the city hope will bring more people and more eyes on the city of Hopkinsville on Sept. 18.

“This year is really exciting,” Hopkinsville Parks and Recreation Marketing and Events Coordinator Taylor Duke said. “All the proceeds from the half marathon and the 5K are going to go to the United Way of the Pennyrile. It benefits our community and it’s a great way to give back.”

Along with the philanthropic side, Duke and the city have plans to get more runners into the race, introducing a referral program that will encourage runners to sign up and get their friends to join them on the trail.

“Once you sign up for the race, you will receive a referral code and if you get five people to sign up using your code, you will get 10 dollars back from your registration cost,” Duke said. “This is something we’re trying for the first time and we’ve had a good response thus far.”

The half marathon also features a new course that will take runners throughout Hopkinsville and Christian County to see the beautiful sight and scenery throughout the area.

“It will now include the new walking bridge,” Duke said. “This year’s race will be run through the residential area, downtown Hopkinsville, it will let racers travel through the beautiful countryside in Chrisitan County. The race starts in downtown and will finish there at one of the entrances of the Greenway/Rail Trail.”

The Rail Trail in Hopkinsville is the longest non-water bridge in the state of Kentucky and will give runners a unique view of the city as they take a scenic route over the town.

With COVID-19 still about in the world, the Hoptown Half Marathon and 5K can be run both in-person and virtually to accommodate those not comfortable running in packs of people.

Duke said signups have been steady throughout the process.

“We’re still having the race in person but we’re also offering the option to run virtually if someone feels uncomfortable running in crowds,” she said. “So far, we’ve had a pretty consistent number of people sign up.”

Signups for the race are still open and will be open until the day of the race. Until Sept.16, runners wanting to race in-person can run at a discounted price of $85 for the half marathon and $55 for the 5K. The virtual meets are $89 and $59, respectively.

Runners can also run in the “Wally’s Walkers” one-mile race for $25.

“We’re still letting people signup until the day before,” Duke said. On Sept. 17, we’re hosting a pre-race expo at the Parks and Rec facility at 2600 Thomas St. We will have a few of our sponsors there, as well as an area to pick up your packet if you want to pick it up early.”

Duke said the city is also looking for people to kick the races off. The city will be taking donations and entering people who donate into a raffle to be able to send the runners on their way.

“We’ve started a fundraiser that will allow members of the community to start the race,” Duke said. “In order to be a part of this, we’re asking you to donate to our fundraiser through our website. … We’re going to randomly choose the winner to start the half marathon and the 5K.”

When the runners cross the finish line, they will also receive new medals for their efforts.

“The medals that we’re featuring this year for our race participants and finishers feature a 3D that we think all runners will find intriguing and will set our race apart from other races,” she said.

The Hoptown Half Marathon and 5K will be run on Saturday, Sept. 18.

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