DALTON, Ga. -- Patty Scoggins was the first to sign up for the Dalton half marathon, and she's hopeful many others will join her.
"I think it's going to bring a lot to the economy in Dalton because I know what I have to spend when I go to Nashville (for the Country Music Marathon)," she said. "And it's going to bring new faces."
Dalton is one of 16 cities selected for the United States Running Association Half Marathon Series organized by the Reinke Sports Group of Florida, said President Dean Reinke. The race here will take place Oct. 16.
It's the first year for the series that is aimed at creating running events in smaller communities, he said.
"Our overall objective with all of our events is to create an annual signature destination event that will attract tourists," Mr. Reinke said.
Dalton was chosen because it's "a very active running community and it's a very ambitious sports community, too," he said.
The Dalton Convention and Visitors Bureau is helping promote the event. Executive Director Brett Huske said two other half marathons in the series so far this year -- in Columbia, S.C., and Bentonville, Ark. -- have generated about 1,000 participants. He's confident that 1,000 or more will participate in Dalton and help boost the local economy.
"Certainly there's a local component that we want to be part of the event, but we also will bring a number of people from the outside, other states, as far away as possible, so we can drive some overnight accommodations," Mr. Huske said.
Officials haven't yet decided on a course for the 13.1-mile run.
USRA HALF MARATHON SERIES IN DALTON
* Register online at www.daltonhm.com through Oct. 15.
* Cost to participate is $50 for the half marathon, $20 for the 5K and $10 for the fun run.
* To contact Dalton's running club for training help visit www.carpetcapitalrunningclub.com.
Sources: Event Web site, David Sanders
David Sanders, board member for the Carpet Capital Running Club, said an ideal route would follow flat terrain "but also kind of showcase Dalton."
Mr. Sanders said his group will help people train for the event and, with seven months before the half marathon, there's ample time to prepare.
"A half marathon is something that a regular person can do," he said.
The half marathon is the showcase event, but there will be more to do that weekend in Dalton. There will also be a 5K run, a 1-mile fun run, awards presentation and a finish-line party with live music and a beer garden, according to a news release.