Riverfront Race Festival is off and running

Image by Flickr user Run to Win

Developed by the Charleston Marathon committee, the first ever Riverfront Race Festival is just around the corner.

Runners, walkers and anyone interested in the new Lowcountry festival, get all the details below and our past coverage:

Developed by the Charleston Marathon committee, a group that aims to turn the festival into a full marathon by 2011, the race will feature a half marathon, as well as a 10K and 5K Hunley Hustle run, starting Jan. 16 at 8:30 a.m. at the old Navy base at 10 Storehouse Row in North Charleston.

The mostly-flat race route winds through the historic Charleston Naval Shipyard, now the Navy Yard at Noisette, and the revitalized downtown North Charleston and Park Circle areas, ending back at Storehouse Row. In addition to the race, the group has planned a variety of other fun activities, including attempting the Guinness world record for the most seafood (shrimp and grits) served in eight hours at the finish line ($5 per serving for nonrunners, free for runners), a pre-race pasta dinner from Olive Garden (Jan. 15 5-8 p.m.), a fitness expo (Jan. 15 4-8 p.m.), a Kids Half Marathon (concluding Jan. 15, 4 p.m.), Family Fun Walk (Jan. 16, 9 a.m.) and a 30- and 62-mile bicycle ride (Jan. 17, 7 a.m.). There will also be live music at different sites before, during and after the race, including local band Sol Driven Train, as well as Adande Africa drummers and high school improve group The Fighting Gnomes. Funds raised at the event will benefit the Youth Endowment for the Arts, a nonprofit organization helping educate, expose and enhance the lives of youth in Charleston County through the arts.

For more information about the organization, visit www.yeaendowment.org. "With more than 500 registrants so far, the community is really embracing this event," says Fox Music owner Charles Fox, who is spear-heading the event. "We are so excited for this inaugural race and have planned lots of fun activities for the whole family. We think this will be a unique race experience for whose who live in and love to visit Charleston, especially on this long MLK Day holiday weekend, and we look forward to the full marathon in 2011." To sign up for the race, be a volunteer or for more information and a complete schedule of events, visit the Web site at www.riverfrontracefestival.com.

Costs to enter the half marathon range from $75-$80, $40-$45 for the 10K, $30 for the 5K, $15 for the Family Fun Walk, and $40 for the bike ride - with discounts the earlier you register. Each entrant will also receive a T-shirt. All participants in the half marathon receive a finisher's medal. Awards will be presented to the top three overall finishers male and female, the top masters male and female, the top grand masters male and female, and the top three finishers male and female -- all divided by age categories.