Organizers of the largest running race in the state expect the number of participants to top 20,000 for the 35th annual Bellin Run in Green Bay on June 11.
The 10K ranked as the 28th largest race in the country in 2009, based on the number of timed finishers. It was the 8th largest 10K.
According to the Green Bay Press Gazette, 14,678 people were registered through Tuesday, which is 1,700 participants ahead of this time last year.
A number of past champions, including Jenny Crain, will be part of the 35th anniversary celebration. Crain won the highly-competitive race in 1996, in the middle of her outstanding career.
Her bid for a run in the Olympics was stopped when she was hit by a car in 2007, and Crain will be helped in the Bellin Run by a longtime friend and former Bellin champion, Elva Dryer. They will be part of myTeam Triumph.
The organization helps people with disabilities participate in road race events with the assistance of volunteers. Dryer will push Crain through the race course in a customized stroller.
Other returning champions include Frank Shorter, Kim Merritt, Bill Rodgers and Uta Pippig.
"We’re celebrating 35 years of encouraging physical fitness and overall wellness in Northeast Wisconsin and the Upper Peninsula,” said executive race director Randy Van Straten said. “Our former champions – many of them are still running and competing at high levels – are more than happy to help us observe the 35-year milestone while also illustrating the value of incorporating physical activity into our lifestyles.”