BALTIMORE (WJZ) — The dead of winter turns into training season for many avid runners waiting for the Maryland Half Marathon this spring. It’s part of WJZ’s Continuing Community Commitment.

Gigi Barnett reports last year’s winner received the coveted County Cup Thursday.

Training for the Maryland Half Marathon begins long before runners hit the starting line in the spring. It starts now–in the dead of winter.

This year, the race’s founders are adding another event–a 5K–to get even more runners over the finish line.

“A 5K is a lot more doable for the majority of runners out there. In order to include more runners, and more runners means more money being raised for the cancer center, which is the reason we’re all here,” said Jon Sevel, Md. Half Marathon co-founder.

This year, the half marathon hits its sixth year on Saturday, May 10. It’s part of WJZ’s Continuing Community Commitment.

Money raised goes to the University of Maryland Marlene and Stewart Greenebaum Cancer Center. The winner gets the coveted County Cup.

Last year, 31-year-old Adam Callaway won it. The cup resides in the county where he lives–Baltimore County.

“We have the fastest people, obviously, so this is now the fourth time that a Baltimore County resident has been the winner. And we appreciate that in bringing that cup back home to us,” said Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz.

Before the half marathon, Callaway will run in the Boston Marathon. The avid runner says he’s always thinking about the cancer survivors on the sidelines as he whizzes by.

“That’s a real fight.Running is just something that I’m blessed to be able to do and to look at those people and realize they can’t and the fight they’re putting on is inspiring,” he said.

In an effort to get runners ready for the big race in May, organizers are planning a short run this Sunday in Howard County–officially kicking off the training season.

More than 2,000 runners are expected this year at the Maryland Half Marathon on Saturday, May 10. So far, they’ve raised more than $1.5 million over the last five years for cancer treatment and research.

If you’d like to join the race in May, click here.

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