FORT RUCKER, Ala. -- Hundreds of runners made Fort Rucker history last year as they took their first strides at the inaugural Hispanic Heritage Half Marathon and the event returns Sept. 24 to greet a new crop of competitors.

The community's voice helped make the half marathon a reality, according to Lynn Avila, Fort Rucker fitness programs coordinator.

"The race was created due to popular demand," she said. "It has been requested and it is an event that has done well at other posts. It will be a rewarding challenge for anyone who chooses to participate."

The 13.1-mile distance could seem daunting to novice or causal runners, but Avila said forming a team still provides a challenge for any runner.

"Two people can form a relay team," she said. "That splits the distance evenly and provides a challenge for anyone."

A bus will transport team members to and from the 6.5-mile mark to meet their partners and complete the second half of the race, according to Avila. "We will have fruit and refreshments at the half way point, as well."

"This is an excellent opportunity for anyone who wishes to attempt a low-key half marathon with less competition before they attempt a larger race," she added.

Rest and nutrition are just as important as physical training when preparing for race day, according to Avila.

"Definitely eat well and hydrate," she said. "If you are runner who likes to have energy packets or snacks during the run, definitely bring those."

Avila said encouraging signs will be placed along the route to motivate runners during the run.

"We wanted to create something to break up the scenery and encourage our runners during this challenging race," she said.

Race day registration will be from 6-6:45 a.m. The half marathon will start at 7 a.m. at the Fort Rucker Physical Fitness Center on Andrews Avenue.

Participants are encouraged to pre-register at either PFC or MWR Central. The race costs $15 per individual with the no shirt option, $30 with tech shirt while supplies last. Teams cost $60 for two-person relay team -- includes tech shirts while supplies last.

The event is open to the public. Trophies will be awarded to the top three overall male and female finishers, and the winning team. Trophies will also be awarded to male and female finishers in 14 different age groups. All finishers will receive a participation medal. The top three teams will receive a banner and medals.

This year's half marathon will feature a two-mile fun run, open to all ages, beginning at 7:30 a.m.

Road closures

Road closures during the event include: Third Avenue will be closed Sept. 24 from 7-11 a.m. from the intersection with Gladiator to the merge with Andrews Avenue, Andrews Avenue to Hatch Road and Hatch Road south and east towards Newton to the turnaround point.

For more information, call 255-2296.