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Saturday, August 7, 2004 -- Wheeling, WV
Debbie Green Memorial 5K Run/Walk & Green Mile The Race For A Reason (iPO Event Id#: 6045)
Story and photos by Julie Black

Editor's Note: Order your high quality 8X10 photos from the Debbie Green 5K at www.debbiegreen5k.com.

[Details] [Coverage]
[Overall Results]
Pictures: [Set 1] [Set 2] [Set 3] [Set 4] [Set 5] [Set 6] [Set 7] [Set 8] [Set 9]
[Set 10] [Set 11] [Set 12] [Set 13] [Set 14] [Set 15] [Set 16] [Set 17] [Set 18] [Set 19]

Past Coverage [1998] [1999] [2000] [2001] [2002] [2003]

Debbie Green 5K
Marching in honor of those lost
Selected as the Road Runners Club of America (RRCA) National 5K Championship, and kicked off by West Virginia Senator Jeffery Kessler, the Debbie Green 5K has grown from it's humble beginnings in the small town of Benwood, WV.

In 1998 the race had over 300 participants compared to over 1000 today. It's also held in Wheeling's Heritage Park, a spacious, scenic riverfront with many the amenities. Thanks to race director Ron Green and his faithful crew including Assistant Race Directors Terry Whitecotton, and George Macek, there were thousands of dollars raised for the Debbie Green Memorial Fund, which fights Leukemia and raises awareness about the disease.

Debbies Dash
The kids get ready to dash
People could hear the music pumping along Wheeling's river front from blocks away. There was no mistaking that the Debbie Green 5K was going to wake up the sleepy August afternoon. Amenities included $3,000 worth of prize certificates for the top runners, 200 plus awards, live television coverage, live radio remotes, lots and lots of spectators, a pizza post-race dinner, and more.

Opening Ceremonies
Saturday's ceremonies began with Debbie's Dash, a free 100 dash race for kids 9 years old and younger. Parents and grandparents lined the streets as their future running stars headed fast towards the finish line.

Debbie Green 5K
The crowd gathers on 12th
Before the start of the 5K, four United States Marines marched to Heritage Point flying Old Glory. Ron Green retired race numbers 911, 1, and 66. Number '66' was retired in honor of Chris Carlier, a local boy who died from leukemia last year. After an emotional speech which honored Carlier, the victims of 911, our vets, and men and women serving in the military today, a local boy sang the national anthem. It was time to start the race.

The Start of the 5K Race
WV Senator Jeffery Kessler did the honors as the first wheelchair participant headed uphill with a nice head start as the crowd cheered. The 5K racers lined up next with fast folks in the front of course, and there were quite a few. Competition was brewing from the tri-state area and runners were eyeing each other to see who they'd be pacing. A large number of racers took off up 12th street lead by the local motorcycle police.

Debbie Green 5K
Ricky Moore waves to fans
Pace Yourself
From the beginning Charlie Ban of Pittsburgh, PA took charge and spread himself from the pack. 5K Master Runner, Larry Taylor, of Fayetteville, WV could be seen in the front as well as local racer Ed Tullis. Wheeling native and crowd favorite, Ricky Moore, was in the front as well. Among the ladies to beat were Saucony girls Heather Bury, and Rebecca Stallwood who in the beginning paced off each other. Other top favorites were Denisa Costescu and Debbie Kilpatrick-Morris.

The Overall Winners
Kicking it into high gear to gain quite a lead in the end was Matt Folk of Youngstown, Ohio. Folk claimed the top prize with a sub-15 minute time of 14:35. He's been a division 1 National Cross Country Qualifier at YSU and in 2004 captured 1st overall at the Columbus 10K. Local celebrity, Ricky Moore, finished 2nd overall with a time of 15:01. Moore has recently completed an amazing college track career at Wheeling Jesuit University where he earned All American Honors. Jeff Weiss and David McCollam battled for third place (at 15:06), right to line for the photo finish. It was McCollam who stuck his chest out for the win with a 2 second difference.

Debbie Green 5K
Finishing with friends
Denisa Costescu of Detroit, MI finished 13th overall and first for the women with a commanding lead. Her first time win at the Debbie Green earned her a time of 16:37. Costescu was recently 1st overall at the Canton, Ohio Sweetheart 2.5 miler with a time of 13:23. Happy with her performance was 2nd place overall woman, Heather Bury of Morgantown, WV, who crossed the line in 16:54. Bury was 2001 and 2002 overall female champion of the Debbie Green 5K. Debbie Kilpatrick-Morris of Strongsville, Ohio placed a solid 3rd in 17:18. Debbie ran in the 2004 USATF Women's 5K Championship.

Overall Walkers
Barb Kornbau of Wellsville, Ohio was the fastest walker with an impressive time of 26:18. Kathy Aderholt, a Wheeling native, claimed 2nd in 28:12 with Sally Bedow finishing 3rd in 29:14. Dave Hoskins of Wheeling, WV was the first male walker with a time of 29:32.

Debbie Green 5K
Treated to a fine sunset
At post-race time, folks were ready to eat. Dinner was served in front a glorious sunset on the river.
Debbie's Story
Debbie Green was a 7-year-old girl from Benwood, West Virginia. She was like every other little girl. She loved going to school, cheerleading, and playing with her friends. Debbie was loved by all who knew her. She enjoyed life to the fullest. In 1970, Debbie was diagnosed with leukemia. For two long years, she battled the disease with courage and determination. On February 10, 1972, friends from all over The Ohio Valley put on a benefit show for her, calling it "Debbie Green Day", helping her during her difficult time. That day meant so much to Debbie and her family, but in less than 2 months, on April 4, 1972, Debbie lost her courageous battle with leukemia. Now, from tragedy comes triumph, and from sadness comes hope. Debbie's memory lives on with this wonderful event which benefits local children who also suffer from leukemia and need our love and support, just like Debbie did 32 years ago.