This year's New Albany Walking Classic has a slightly different route and a few other notable changes.

The walk, which will step off for its 13th year at 8 a.m. Sept. 17, is organized by the New Albany Walking Club and Healthy New Albany, a local nonprofit organization.

Construction has changed the location of the walk's start, said organizer and founder Phil Heit.

Because the roundabout at Greensward Road and U.S. Route 62 is under construction, the walk will start at the Market Street extension by CVS and Ackerly Farm Road instead of Market Square, he said.

Although some of the route would be altered, as well, the walk still will conclude at Market Square, he said.

About 30 vendors will be on Market Square for the post-walk food festival, Heit said.

Because of the changed route, the walk be a shorter 5-mile distance instead of the usual 10 kilometers, Heit said.

This year also will be the first that the half-marathon distance will not be offered, a change necessary from an economic perspective, he said.

Because most of the walk's participants opted to do the shorter route, maintaining the course for an extra two hours was difficult to justify, Heit said.

Those who want to walk a half marathon can participate in the Nationwide Children's Hospital Columbus Marathon on Oct. 15, Heit said.

About 3,000 people participate in the Walking Classic every year, Heit said.

Registration is open through Sept. 16. All entry fees are donated to Healthy New Albany, and more than $2 million has been raised to support Healthy New Albany's programs, Heit said.

"The walk was the impetus for everything we're doing (in New Albany) from a health perspective," Heit said.

New Albany resident Linda Romanoff, 56, has participated in the walk since the first event in 2005.

At that time a new resident, she heard Heit talking about the Walking Classic at an expo and thought she might meet people by participating, she said.

In addition to walking in New Albany, Romanoff plans to walk the full marathon Oct. 15, she said.

To prepare, Romanoff said, she has been walking 3 to 5 miles four days per week and cross training on other days.

ssole@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekSarah