The City of Edinburg is getting ready to host some of the most elite runners from around world, according to organizers of the 27th Annual 10K Run/Walk, which takes place this weekend.

The city expects over 4,000 spectators and 500 volunteers on Saturday Feb. 7. There are 42 men and 24 female “elite runners” as of Feb. 1, who according to David Chavana comprise former olympians, 10K champions, and runners from across the globe.

“It’s a big city race with a small town flavor,” said race director David Chavana, who is one of the original founders of the race, which began in 1979.”You have the bands out there, the kids in schools and the whole community coming out and cheering them on. Runners love the atmosphere, the environment that makes it feel like a family fitness day.”

This year Edinburg welcomes for the first time an elite contingent of Ethopian runners, who often compete with their Kenyan counterparts. Kenyans have been participating in Edinburg since 2003, according to Chavana.

The race is slated to host several runners who competed in the 2008 Olympics in Beijing including Tibor Vegh, who was on the Hungarian team; and Andrew Lemoncello who participated in the 3000m Steeplechase for Great Britian.

Other notable runners include David Cheruiyot from Kenya who is a 3-time Houston Marathon winner in 2005, 2006, and 2008.

Edinburg 10K defending champion and female record holder Genoviva Kigen also returns. Kigen holds the fastest 10K time for females in the Valley at 32:59. Russian runner Albina Gallyamova, a two-time Edinburg 10K champion, also returns.

“First of all it’s flat,” Chavana said about Edinburg’s appeal to runners from across the globe. “Second, it’s the community effort that the runners come in, and they really leave with a bounce in their step saying this is a truly exciting 10K.

“I like to tell people this is not a David Chavana one-act play this is the community of Edinburg coming together,” he said.

Valley-wide schools and numerous organizations partake annually as team runners, according to the city.

The 10K Run/Walk has been featured in over 25,000 printed publications, 100 radio slots, 75 television PSA’s and highlighted on more than 30 television programs. A total of 37,782 people have finished the 10K in the last 26 years, according to Chavana.

“My opinion is maybe one of our children will see these elite runners run, and one day we can have a homegrown elite runner like that,” Chavana said. “I believe that is my legacy to leave on. If we can have one of these world class runners here, and one of our students can see that, maybe they can be one in the future. “

The winning male and female each get $2,500 for first place. The top-25 runners all get money from beginning at $50 on up to the grand prize.

The race begins at 10:30 a.m. next to Cano-Gonzalez Elementary and finish at Municial Park. Registration will take place at Edinburg Parks & Rec. Interested runners can P&R at 381-5631. People can register until Friday Feb. 6 at 10 p.m.

Parents may register their children for the 2-mile Fun Run all the way until 30 minutes before race time which is at 8:30 a.m.