March 2, 2001

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Calling all runners, walkers, wheelchair racers, bicyclists and in-line skaters as well as those who support the University of Oklahoma's College of Fine Arts and the Athletic Department.

The Seventh Annual Arts Classic Run is scheduled for Saturday, March 31. The first gun will sound at 8:30 a.m. with all of the participants starting from the west side of Oklahoma Memorial Stadium. The in-line skaters will start at 8:30 a.m. Bike tours begin at 9:45 a.m. and wheelchair events begin at 9:55 a.m. with the runners and walkers hitting the course at 10 a.m. The finish line once again will be the 50-yard line of Owen Field. The event is presented by KOCO-TV 5 and Sonic, America's Drive-In.

For the third year, the Arts Classic Run and the Redbud Classic will team together to form "The Classics." A runner who competes in the same race at both events will have the times combined to determine overall and age group champions. The Classic Champions (overall and age group) will receive special prizes. There is no extra fee to be considered for The Classic Champion prizes. A separate entry form and fee are required for the Redbud Classic to be run on April 8.

Once again, this year's race is billed as an opportunity to "run, ride and roll" for the Arts and Athletics. The Classic features a half marathon, a 10-kilometer race, a two-mile run/walk, a 10k volksmarch, a wheelchair event and two-mile and 10k in-line skating events. For the third year, there will be bike tours of 7, 30 and 43 miles. The runners and skaters will follow courses that include the Norman campus as well as the historic neighborhoods around campus. Runners and walkers will finish on the 50-yard line while skaters and riders will complete their course on paved areas around the stadium.

Organizers emphasize that the bike tour, in its third year as part of the Classic, is just that - a tour and not a race. The 7-mile Fun Town Tour will be conducted as a group with police escort. The 30- and 43-mile tours are road tours over hilly terrain. Rests stops will be provided for the tour participants as well as SAG support. All riders will be required to wear an ANSI or Snell approved helmet. Riders are required to obey all traffic laws. Riders will receive participant ribbons, finish bags and will be entered in drawings for other prizes.

Prizes to be given include first-, second- and third-place awards for male and female in the wheel chair, two mile, 10 kilometer and half marathon events. In addition, the overall male and female winners in the 10 kilometer and half marathon will be given round trip American Airlines tickets to Boston, San Francisco or New York, subject to certain restrictions. Also to be given are overall awards for male and female masters runners and special commemorative medals to the first three male and female runners in race-specific age groups. The two-mile and 10k in-line skating events are non competitive and finishers will receive ribbons. The volksmarch, which is AVA sanctioned, also is non competitive.

For the fifth year, the half marathon is dedicated to the memory of Juli Busken, a graduate of the College of Fine Arts. All proceeds from the entry fee for runners in the half marathon will be used to support the Juli Busken Scholarship Fund.

The finish line will close at 1 p.m. and there will be no traffic control after 1 p.m.

"In the first year, we had about 900 runners. Last year, that number was just over 3,000, and we expect to have between 3,500-4,000 run or ride in 2001," said Dudley Hyde, race director and brainchild of the Arts Classic Run at its inception. Hyde said runners in the 2000 edition represented 26 states and countries.

This year marks a technological first for the event, as runners' times will be recorded with microchips placed on participants' sneakers. It is a technology already being used in major marathon sites such as Boston and New York City. The Arts Classic will be only the second in-state run to use the technology, following last fall's Tulsa Run.

"This will put the Arts Classic in a class as one of the best, if not the best, events in the state. This is state-of-the-art technology that is really the only way to do it anymore," said Hyde. "I can remember using popsicle sticks with numbers on them, which we handed out to the runners as they crossed the finish line. We've really come a long way."

Upon registration, complete information will be entered into the chip, which will then be encased on the runners' shoe. At the starting and finish lines, pads will be set up, and as runners cross, information begins to process. Once individual runners finish the course, the information will be almost instantly available for viewing.

"The Arts Classic Run has provided many exceptional educational and artistic opportunities for our faculty and talented young students which we would be unable to support without the funds raised by the Arts Classic," said Marvin Lamb, dean of the College of Fine Arts. "The run provides its participants with a fun day of enjoyment and fellowship while ensuring our students' growth as artists through exceptional experiences in the arts."

"We look forward to our collaboration with the College of Fine Arts in this most successful event," said Joe Castiglione, director of athletics. "This is a unique opportunity for people who support the efforts of the College of Fine Arts and the Athletic Department to come together for what promises to be an entertaining and enjoyable event."

OU fine arts students will provide entertainment at the stadium and along the course.

Pre-registration is encouraged because of the anticipated size of the field. The entry fee is $18 if the registration is received by March 24, $10 for students. The race day entry fee is $15 for students and $21 for everyone else. The entry fee includes a Arts Classic commemorative T-shirt. The entry fee for the event only (no T-shirt included) is $12 by March 24 and $15 on race day. Entries on race day will be accepted from 6:30 to 9 a.m. at the west side of Oklahoma Memorial Stadium. Entries will be closed at 9 a.m. so that the start of the Classic will not be delayed. Pre-registration packets can be picked up from 1-8 p.m. on Friday, March 30, at Gate 17 (the northwest corner of the stadium) or from 6:30-9 a.m. on race day.

Entry forms can be picked up at area Sonic locations, The Runner In Oklahoma City, select Norman Campus Corner merchants, the College of Fine Arts, Room 122 of the Fred Jones, Jr., Museum of Art on Parrington Oval in Norman, and the OU Athletic Department. Entries can also be printed off the Arts Classic web site, www.ou.edu/artsclassicrun/. Course maps are also available at the web site.

For more information on the Classic, call (405) 325-5173. For accommodations on the basis of disability, call (405) 325-7372.