The Chilmark Road Race marks its 42nd year on Saturday, and 1,600 pairs of running shoes, plus two large lobsters for the male and female winners, will be on hand to help celebrate the annual tradition.

The course runs five kilometers from east of the Chilmark town hall on Middle Road to Beetlebung Corner. As many runners know, the course is hilly, especially between mile 1.5 and 2.6.

The race begins at 10:30 a.m. Participants should check in at the Chilmark Community Center either Friday evening, August 9, between 5 and 7 p.m. or Saturday morning, between 8:30 and 9:30 a.m. Numbers, timing chips, T-shirts and race instructions will be issued upon check-in.

Parking is available at the Chilmark landfill station, with busing to the race provided. Buses will also transport runners from the Vineyard Haven Steamship terminal, arriving on the 8:15 ferry. Buses will return to the ferry terminal after the race.

The home stretch. — Ray Ewing

Founder and director of the race Hugh Weisman said that not much has changed about the race since its inception in 1978. Runners tread the same course, the town faces the same parking challenges, proceeds benefit the Chilmark Community Center and participants wear variations of the same classic T-shirt.

The main change over time, Mr. Weisman said, is the number of runners participating. Registration opened July 1, and this year reached its cap of 1,600 by July 10.

“Back in 1978, I thought it would be fun to have a little race,” he said. “We registered 100 people, but 180 showed up. Before the race we were numbering pieces of cardboard for the extra runners. And it just went on from there.”

The only other change this year is the establishment of the 90+ age group. The movement was spearheaded by Sam Feldman, who just turned 90 this year. A decade prior, Mr. Feldman established the 80+ age group, which is now capped at 89.

“I don’t think there will be much competition in my age category,” said Mr. Feldman. “Most are too smart.”

Mr. Feldman has participated in the race each year since 1980 and is a proud supporter of what the race has done for the community. His only qualm, he said, is that he is running out of room in his dresser to store his 38 Chilmark Road Race T-shirts.

“The people of Chilmark are so grateful for Hugh having done this for so many years,” he said. “And I feel fortunate to be a part of the Chilmark community.”

“It’s something everyone can do,” he continued, “no matter their athletic abilities or physical strengths. They can walk it, run it or hobble. You don’t have to be doing it to win. You do it because you want to be there with a group of friends and family and community.”

Mr. Feldman will be running with his life partner, daughter, son in law and two grandchildren. He is the odds-on favorite for the 90+ division, but the winners of the fabled lobsters will be decided on the course Saturday.