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Saturday, June 2, 2001 -- Cairo, WV
Ridge Runner Races (iPO Event Id#: 2939)
Story and photos by Dave McKain

[Details] [Coverage]
[Overall Results] [Results by Class]
Pictures: [Set 1] [Set 2] [Set 3] [Set 4] [Set 5] [Set 6] [Set 7] [Set 8]
[1998 Coverage] [1999 Coverage] [2000 Coverage]

Race Pic
One racer gives this one a "Thumbs Up!"
They should give marathons in places like WV an asterisk with the amount of hills they throw at you. Over 100 participants took on the challenge of the hills and hollows around North Bend State Park for the Ridge Runner Marathon and 10 miler. Considering that the week before was filled with cold, rainy days, the weather for the race was a welcome 70 degrees with the sun making its appearance about an hour into the marathon.

Since this is the only marathon scheduled in West Virginia this year, many participants came from quite a distance to complete the race and further their goal of running a marathon in all 50 states. Unfortunately, finding a place in WV to run a marathon (let alone a 5K) where there aren't any hills is pretty difficult. At least the hills in the region are just that, and not mountains (unless you are from the flatlands).

One person making the long trek to WV for the marathon was Joe Bowman of Dunwoody, GA. Bowman arrived at North Bend State Park around 2am and proceeded to sleep in his car before waking for the 7am start time. While this may not have been conducive to breaking the course record it was good enough for a win with Bowman finishing the 26.2 miles in 2:58:40. In a battle for second place, Kevin O'Grady (3:04:41) of Columbus, Ohio nipped Jeffrey Ardo (3:04:59) of Macedonia, Ohio to take second place. In addition to contending with the hilly course, the competitors may have been slowed by difficult road conditions. The final 3 mile stretch from Harrisville to the park entrance had deteriorated from a combination of weather and heavy construction traffic. Until the road is repaired the course record of 2:50:15 is safe.

Race Pic
Running the road less travelled
For the women, Suzanne Swafford came all the way from Phoenix, AZ to take the win with a time of 3:47:02 followed by Sarah Kleinendorst (Brooklyn, NY - 4:22:45) and Sara Hall Pace (Burlington, NC - 4:22:54) finishing in second and third places respectively.

In the 10 mile race, Cole Carpenter of Harrisville took the win with a time of 1:02:31 followed by David Bee (1:06:49) and Eric Dougherty (1:09:42). The 10 mile course had some trecherous conditions to deal with including 5 miles of gravel road and having to ford a wide stream about 4 miles from the finish. While the road may have been a little rough the scenery and atmosphere were great.