Runnington, how it all started!
By: Pat Riley
In 2010, we were doing some press for the WV 5K Championship I called good friend Jason Pyles and asked him if he would join me in Ritter Park to talk to a local news station about the event and how much it meant to the running community.
The WV 5K Championship started in 2009 when I wanted to do something in reaction to Huntington being called the “Fattest City in America”. I knew that wasn’t true at all as I saw plenty of people out running, walking, and cycling every evening when I went for my own run.
Before the WV 5K Championship came along, the largest race in Huntington was the Bun Run with 364 participants. That was our goal! We wanted to become the largest 5K Race Huntington has ever had, and with the help of the entire running community, businesses, city hall, and The United Way of the River Cities, we DESTROYED that number and had over 500 people in the first year!
Now back to 2010, we were riding pretty high off of our success in the first year and were ready to go big again! As I mentioned earlier, we were doing a lot of press and talking about the 2nd Running Boom that our region, and our nation, was experiencing.
While the camera man was setting up the shot and we were chatting with the reporter off camera, Jason or myself (I honestly can’t remember who said it first), simply changed the R in Huntington and called in Runtington…. We thought it sounded really cool!
Later that week, I was invited to the editorial board meeting at the Herald-Dispatch (Who has been a leader in promoting fitness and running events in this area) to discuss the 2010 WV 5K Championship. In the room, being quizzed by 5 or 6 great people, and feeling slightly intimated by the opportunity, but still completely full of motivation as everyone in the room was amazed by what we were doing, I happened to mention that running was so popular in Huntington that some are now calling it Runtington. Before Ed Dawson was promoted to Publisher, I believe the misunderstood me and said “Runnington” sounds like a great name for our city”.
Jason Pyles and myself came up with Runtington, and it took the future publisher of the Herald-Dispatch (I believe he was an editor at the time, so he is much better equipped to finalize a saying than we were) tweaked our idea and it stuck. Runnington was born right there in the editorial conference room of the Herald-Dispatch in June of 2010!
We are happy to have started a movement in the Huntington area and been a part of the running community for over 10 years! We will continue to do everything that we can to promote fitness in our community and help raise millions (Yes, MILLIONS) of dollars for local charities!