DOVER -- Registration is now open for the third annual Union Hospital Run for Home half-marathon road race and team relay set for Sunday, April 18.

In addition to the half-marathon, team relay, one-mile fun run and kids' race, the 2010 Run for Home will feature a new event -- a five-mile walk.

"In the last two years, we've seen the Run for Home attract participants at all levels of fitness and experience. We believe the five-mile walk will be another event to motivate people to begin an exercise program and participate in a healthy activity," explained Run for Home Road Runners Club president Matt Ritzert.

The Union Hospital Run for Home is a benefit for Tuscarawas Valley Habitat for Humanity. To date, the Run for Home Road Runners Club has donated more than $22,000 to Habitat.

"We believe the Run for Home serves two purposes. First, we want to raise money for Habitat, but we also want to encourage people of all ages to run or walk and adopt a health lifestyle," explained Ritzert. "In the last two years, many local races have experienced a significant increase in participation. We believe the Run for Home is one of many reasons for the increased interest in running."

In 2009, more than 800 people participated in the Run for Home events. More than 300 people ran the half-marathon and more than 325 people participated in the three-person team relay. The one-mile fun run attracted more than 150 runners and walkers while about 25 young children took part in the kids' run.

Union Hospital is the lead sponsor for the Run for Home and will once again sponsor a series of training and fitness programs to help people get ready for the race. The Saturday morning programs will begin in January and will focus on children and their families. The training series will follow a curriculum developed by the Road Runners Club of America called Kids Run the Nation.

"We'll have a series of speakers address a variety of topics to help children and families become familiar with running and its benefits," explained Pam Dummermuth, Union Hospital community health and wellness coordinator.

The 2010 Run for Home will once again feature a corporate competition for the Charles Mackey Trophy. Any company that participates in the Run for Home as a sponsor is eligible for the award which is based entirely on participation. The company whose employees run the most miles in the Run for Home events will win the Charles Mackey Trophy which is named after an avid local runner who passed away after a battle with cancer. In 2009, Union Hospital captured the Charles Mackey award when its employees team up to walk or run more than 80 miles in the various Run for Home events.

The Run for Home is organized by the Run for Home Road Runners Club and is supported by hundreds of volunteers. Any individuals or groups interested in supporting the event can contact Ritzert at (330) 827-5710.

"We can not stage the Run for Home without the support of all the volunteers and organizations that help prepare for the race and keep everything running smoothly on race day," Ritzert said. "We are also thankful for the great cooperation from all the state, city, county and township officials involved," Ritzert added.

Tuscora Park will once again serve as the Run for Home headquarters. A health and fitness fair will be held in the park pavilion April 17 and 18. The half-marathon, a 13.1 mile road race through New Philadelphia and Dover, will step off at 1 p.m. on Sunday, April 18. The race also features a three-person team relay. The five-mile walk will begin at the same time as the half-marathon and team relay. The one-mile fun run/walk and kids' race will begin a short time later in the park area. The half-marathon is part of the Ohio Subway Challenge Series and the Allied Machine and Engineering Tuscarawas Valley Challenge.

More information about the Union Hospital Run for Home can be found at www.runforhome.org.

The Web site includes a registration form that can be downloaded and a link to register for the race online.