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Sunday, July 9, 2000 -- Richwood, WV
Scenic Mountain Triathlon
Story and photos by Don Parks

[Details] [Coverage]
[Overall Results]
Pictures: [Set 1] [Set 2] [Set 3] [Set 4] [Set 5] [Set 6] [Set 7] [Set 8]
See also: [1998 Coverage] [1999 Coverage]

Summit Lake gets the racing started with a splash
West Virginia's longest running triathlon and the only true triathlon currently in the state, the 15th Annual Scenic Mountain Triathlon, once again came on a picture perfect day. Plentiful sunshine and a nice breeze made for another great day of swimming, cycling and running. And waiting at the finish was the now infamous awards cookout with a wealth of prizes and enough hamburgers, hotdogs, fruits, drinks and other delights to feed an army of hungry athletes.

The trip to the party at the finish is no easy task. It starts with a half-mile swim in Summit Lake with the water temperature, on this day, at a cool 65 degrees. Next is the bike leg starting with a daring downhill blast off the mountain for almost two miles. Then it is on to Rt. 39/55 for the long climb up and over Kennison Mountain, just 12 feet shy of 4,000. Finishing the 17.1 mile ride is a one-plus mile descent to the Cranberry Mountain Nature Center. The final push is a 10K (6.2 miles) out-and-back run with the "out" mostly downhill and the "back" just the opposite.

Mark Carrico
Mark Carrico revels in the climb over Kennison Mountain
Eager to attack the mountains, while maybe taking a few moments to enjoy the wonderful scenery, almost 100 swimmers splashed into Summit Lake at 10:00am Sunday morning. The first to emerge from the water after just 9 minutes and 13 seconds was FleetFeet's David Williams hailing from Carrboro, North Carolina. Literally right on his heels was Power Bar Team Elite, Cane Creek and Cytosports's Aaron King who was racing far from his home in Menlo Park, California. A minute back of the two leaders, and third out off the lake, was Palmyra, Virginia's Benita Thompson who is "supported 100%" by her husband Kip Thompson.

The leaders quickly jumped onto the bike saddles and flew off the mountain. Near the bottom of the descent, King passed Williams to take the lead. But, soon after they made the turn onto Rt. 39/55, Williams retook the lead. After several miles of rolling climbs as they headed toward Kennison Mountain, King again surged into the lead, this time for good.

What goes up,
must go down...
Williams put up a great fight, but on the final assault of Kennison Mountain during the 15th mile of cycling, King disappeared from the sight of his rival. Having a 1:40 head start for the run, King continued to push the pace not knowing how strong his pursuer would be on his feet. Putting in a strong running time of 37:59 for the 10K distance, King found the finish alone to set a new course record with a time of 1:34:11.

Meanwhile, Thompson, who was working alone in third the entire race, used the run to gain almost a minute on the second place Williams. But this wasn't quite enough to make up the minute that she lost on both the swim and the bike. At the tape it was Williams getting second overall in 1:38:04 and Thompson taking third at 1:39:18, and first overall for the women.

Shawna Fox
Shawna Fox still has a big kick for the finish
Other excellent performances included the fourth overall finisher, and first West Virginian, from Robert Smith(1:43:31) of Huntington. Second among the women went to Charlottesville, Virginia's Amy Robins (1:52:26) who relied on a very strong run to beat third place finisher Kirsti Beatty (1:53:40), from Lewisburg, West Virginia. The first relay team to reach the finish line was the mixed team from Barboursville, West Virginia, Judy's Kids (2:01:50) with Helen Fitzpatrick, Bill Adams and Sasha Kirchner.

Many more award winning efforts and personal triumphs completed the day's racing. As the crowds enjoyed the fabulous cookout and picnic provided at the finish, the words of praise for this event could be heard in abundance. Race winner and veteran racer Aaron King said, "I heard West Virginia was beautiful and I wanted to visit." Having now had that opportunity he added, "This is the best race I have ever been to and it was a great course."

Friends that play together,
stay together
Making this event such a good time for everyone who attends is no easy task. But thanks to the hard work of over 75 community volunteers, and with the direction of Bill Glasscock, Maria Dooley and Susie Sigley, it was once again a success. It also goes a long way having the support from the generous sponsors including the WV Jeep Dealers, Ferris Baker Watts, Morgan Stanley Dean Witter, and Coca-Cola.

A big thanks also goes out to the rest of the supporting cast including the Richwood Chamber of Commerce, Richwood National Guard, Nicholas Amateur Radio Club, Richwood Police and VFD, Nicholas County Water Council Diving Club, Richwood Pool Lifeguards, WV State Police, DNR, USFS, Jan-Care Ambulance, Redi-Care Ambulance, Richwood Moose Lodge, Simons-Coleman Funeral Home, Dale Alexander from WQBE in Charleston, results from Steve and Cynthia Olson, and everyone else associated with this great event including all the participants and their friends and families. We'll see you all again for the next Scenic Mountain Triathlon on August 8th, 2001.