John Phillips has run more than 30 half marathon races, but he wanted one close to home.
So the Methodist Mansfield Medical Center president and his staff started the Run with Heart.
The annual event also includes a 5K and one-mile walk for people who are ready to go long on Saturday morning. Phillips encourages casual runners to give the half marathon a try.
“There’s a fine line between a 10K and a half marathon,” he said. “If a novice runner can get up to 10 miles in training, they can easily complete a half marathon. You can do it.”
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Since Phillips is a runner, the event is built around what runners like. The course changes every year to keep it interesting, and there are a lot of water station stops -- manned by a variety of civic organizations -- to keep them hydrated and to cheer for them along the route.
The half marathon course begins and ends at the hospital, but winds round through a big chunk of the community, including the historic downtown.
“Our goal is a safe course,” Phillips said. “It’s cooler weather so it’s safer, super supportive water stations, awesome support from the police and the entire course is coned.”
The first race brought out 500 runners in 2013, said Angel Biasatti, the hospital’s director of marketing and community relations. Since then the runs have drawn more than 1,000 runners each year, many of them training for next month’s Cowtown Marathon in Fort Worth.
Some participants have more personal reasons to run.
“We have people that have had bypass surgery here to walk or run,” Biasatti said. “It’s a fund-raiser for the Amon G. Carter Foundation Heart & Vascular Center and we give money for research to the Tarrant County Heart Association.
“We have one doctor who sponsors whose father had double bypass surgery,” she said. “Heart disease touches so many people.”
The 5K and mile walk also start and end at Methodist Mansfield.
Everyone is invited to celebrate at the finish line with face painting, a balloon artist, music, healthy food and an awards ceremony.
To register, go to MansfieldRunWithHeart.org.
Run with Heart
7:30 a.m. Saturday
Methodist Mansfield Medical Center
2700 E. Broad St.