FAIRMONT, W.Va. – The 16th annual Run to Read half marathon was held at Prickett’s Fort State Park in Fairmont on Saturday.

Runners step off for the half marathon.

The race is done every year to promote literacy in children. In order to be in the race, participants must raise money, which will then be used to help get books and other reading materials to children. Now heading toward two decade of races, it has become a popular event to attend in the area.

Runners stepped off in small groups.

Over 200 runners stepped off the mats on Saturday afternoon. Due to COVID guidelines, there could not be a mass start like every other year. Rather, smaller groups began together in waves in order to space out the amount of people running together. Runners’ times did not start until they crossed the mat. In addition, masks had to be worn when stepping, though they could be taken off when the group disperses.

According to World Population Review, West Virginia has an 87% literacy rate, firmly in the middle of the pack as far as states rank in literacy rates.