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Saturday, August 7, 1999 -- Benwood
Debbie Green Memorial 5K Run & Walk
Story & photos by Julie Bertsch

[Pic Set 1] [Pic Set 2] [Pic Set 3] [Pic Set 4] [Pic Set 5] [Pic Set 6]
Results: [Overall Run] [Overall Walk] [Run by Class] [Walk by Class]

Friends run with friends
Jolene Taylor & Lou Ann Cottrell are happy to run in Benwood
Last year there were 300 racers, but the number of participants was almost doubled on Saturday evening, August 7th, 1999. The Debbie Green Memorial 5K has become a local favorite for the community of Benwood. The race was held in loving memory of Debbie Green, who died when she was just 4 years old of Leukemia, and for 9 year old Mozart resident, Kayla Britton. Two inclines, some strong August humidity, and lots of competition made this 5K, something everyone in the town felt they just had to come see for themselves.

As the many runners and walkers lined up shoulder to shoulder, so did the spectators. They were perched along the streets and on their porches, trying to get the best seat in the house. The signal was given, and a mass crowd of people took to the streets, as the "Rocky" theme song echoed off the buildings behind them.

Say cheese!
Dave Harshberger knows where the camera's at!
Rounding the corner, into the first mile of concrete and cobblestones, Ricky Moore speed by onlookers in a blur. Tony Basta closely followed, not quite nipping at Moore's heels, but definitely one to contend with up the short incline under the Bellaire Bridge. As walkers were still finishing their first mile, a runner appeared over the red, brick road. That runner was Ricky Moore at full sprint, holding tight onto his win from 1998, and beating last year's time by 36 seconds. Moore also broke the course record, and finished 1st Overall with an amazing time of 16 minutes flat! Cruising at a fast pace of his own, Tony Basta (16:14), finished 14 seconds behind Moore to capture 2nd Place Overall, and Brian McPeak ran a great race of his own, getting a time of 16:54, and taking home the 3rd Place Overall plaque.

Head to Head!
Jessica Melanko & Dale Landefeld are neck and neck!
As the runners came flying down the last, short hill, it was clear to see that the tough competition was not only in the men's category. The young women in the run were battling it out over the miles, that took runners through the residential streets.

The top three women finishers were all 19 or 18 years old, and they had some fast finishing times! Staying ahead of the women, and quite a few men, was 19 year old Charity Pefferman. Keeping a good pace, Pefferman was the 1st Overall Woman finisher with a time of 19:22. Twenty seconds behind Pefferman was, Erin Frye (19:40), running away with 2nd for the women, and Kristen Hetzel, who finished as the 3rd Overall Woman with a 20:32, respectively.

John Mike Nichols in the 5K Walk
John Mike Nichols is chased by Rollie Woods in the walk
Up until the very end, the 5K Walk was very close, and extremely exciting. Rollie Woods was hot on the trail of John Mike Nichols, who had already won the 13th Annual Road Race 5K Walk early that morning in Elizabeth. However, Nichols kept his pace, never looking back, he finished only seconds before Woods with a 29:51. Taking 2nd Overall in the Walk, Rollie Woods (29:55), certainly held his own. McMechen resident George Macek, lives just down the street from where the race takes place, and runs the streets all the time. An avid runner & speed walker, Macek finished 3rd Overall in the walk with a 30:08. "They just lost me in the last mile." said Macek, "I just couldn't seem to keep up."

Fun after the 5K
Having a little post race fun with Barney, or is it Godzilla?
After the race was over, racers were welcome to enjoy some great Italian cuisine compliments of Undo's Restaurant. Free beverages of all kinds were offered, and families gathered under the tents to enjoy the music, and eat some scrumptious, baked ziti. Lots of prizes were raffled off, and everyone seemed to have a really good time.

Thanks to the Debbie Green Memorial Race Director, Ron Green, this race has been a success once again. Supreme organization, and publicity has made this event the biggest 5K in the state of West Virginia! WVOutside was happy to be a part of the event, and we can't wait to see what new additions to the race Ron has planned in the year 2000!