The Westport Parks and Recreation Department will open its 51st annual Road Runners season Saturday at 8 a.m. with a traditional 2.3-mile race starting and finishing at Staples High School.

The Road Runners program is a series of running races held on Saturday mornings, which progressively increase in distance throughout the summer. The series concludes with the Westport Labor Day weekend 10-mile race.

This year the format under which the program is conducted will be the same as last year. An entry fee of $30 for Westport residents and $50 for non-residents will be charged for the entire series of races. Runners have the option of choosing to pay a weekly fee of $5 or $8 per race for residents and non-residents, respectively.

The series of races will be scored grand prix fashion in seven age divisions for both men and women: 19-and-younger, 20-29, 30-39, 40-49, 50-59, 60-69, 70-and-older. Points will be scored each week in each division for the first three places with the winners announced on the Saturday before Labor Day. The first three men and women overall finishers in each race will also be award T-shirts. In addition, each runner who finishes each race will be eligible for the weekly prize lottery. All participants younger than 18 are required to have parent or guardian permission secured by a signed application form.

Saturday's race will start on the Staples track. The runners will run 300 meters on the track and follow the service path up the hill and behind Bedford Middle School to the Wakeman Park playing fields. They will then cross diagnolly and connect with the Wakeman Park entrance road, turn left on Cross Highway, left on North Avenue, left on the Bedford Middle School entrance road and left to the serive path at the Wakeman Park playing fields. They will continue right behind Bedford Middle School and down the hill to the Staples track to finish.

Participants are reminded to park in the Staples north parking lot and walk down the hill or down the stairs by the bleachers to the track, located behind the field house.

Applications for and information about the Road Runners program are available at the Westport Parks and Recreation office, at the start of each race or on the Road Runner's website:

Registration for each race begins at 7:30 a.m.

Laddie Lawrence, Staples High's cross country and track coach, will direct the program for a 48th season.