GET OUT: Running club keeps tradition alive for 3 decades

Running is about dealing with the elements, but a deluge before and during the 2010 Charlie Post Classic on Sullivan's Island created a rare water obstacle for the road race.

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Much like tourism, running in Charleston takes a bit of a hiatus from mid-December until the end of January.

In recent years, the area has lost two small races in January, the Laura Griffin Memorial Run and Resolution Run, and gained only one medium-sized one, the Charleston Marathon.

But for the last three decades, the running scene starts building toward the Cooper River Bridge Run crescendo with a race the last Saturday in January.

For about 30 years, the Charleston Running Club has sponsored the Charlie Post Classic 15K and 5K, an event named for Dr. Charlie Post. The former club member died in 1984 from complications resulting from a bicycle accident that occurred the previous year.

The origin of the race dates to 1980, when Post organized The Family Practice Fitness Run in Charleston. The club renamed it for Post after his death and has used it to raise money, $60,000 to date, for the Charlie Post Memorial Scholarship at the College of Charleston.

A runner's race

The 29th annual Charlie Post Classic will begin at 8:30 a.m. Saturday on Sullivan's Island.

The race is special not because it's big or draws a lot of out-of-towners, but because it's a runner's race, featuring a terrific course, decent local competition and usually challenging conditions (rain or wind or cold or some combination of those).

Jeff Baxter, the club's vice president of races, said 455 had signed up by the end of last week with about 60 percent going for the 15K, which is 9.3 miles.

"The long-term forecast looks positive right now (last Friday), so hopefully that holds up and we'll see a big turnout on Saturday," said Baxter, noting that the race will feature several changes and improvements this year.

Among them is a new computerized timing system, Jaguar, which will improve accuracy and timeliness in processing times, a long-overdue updated race logo and a new title sponsor, Triangle Char & Bar.

Assuring competitive times, the club also has cash prizes (the amount is determined by final race entry numbers) for males and females in the top three overall, as well as masters and grandmasters divisions.

Registration details

Online registration ended Monday, but in-person registration ($25) resumes 10 a.m.-6 p.m. today and Friday at On The Run running store on Houston Northcutt Boulevard (near Harris Teeter).

Registered runners can pick up packets Friday at On The Run or between 6:45 and 8:15 a.m. Saturday at Sullivan's Island Fire Station. Race day registration ($30) is at the same time at the fire station.

Following the race, a tradition of sorts among runners is to gather at Dunleavy's Pub for a beer, or three, and some warm food. Dunleavy's Pub will open its doors at 10 a.m. and offer any runner who turns in a race bib a deal on the first pint of beer: $1.

More at www.charlestonrunningclub.com.