Saturday, May 6, 2006 -- Albright, WV
Cheat River Festival Road Race - MAGP #4(iPO Event Id#: 7379)
Story and photos by Julie Black
Friends of the Cheat (FOC), promotes partnerships and coalition building to pursue their mission, "To restore, preserve, and promote the outstanding natural qualities of the Cheat River Watershed." Through various methods, the FOC raises awareness and funds for the Cheat and its surrounding tributaries. The river-music festival, downriver kayaking race, and 5K run and walk mark the biggest weekend of the year for the organization. Bringing in thousands of participants, festival goers, volunteers, musicians, artists, vendors and more, the annual event is one of the largest grassroots efforts in the area.
Zach Serian, a 17-year old North Marion High School Junior, set his personal record at the 2005 WV State Championships in the AAA 5000-meter cross country event. Serian challenged Heather Parks, an outstanding runner, on this day. Serian pushed through the pain to edge out his competition and finish 1st overall in 17:16.
Heather Parks paced herself after a rough start, "I spent too much of my energy in the first mile." Parks has a long list of running honors, most recently finishing as the 2nd US female in the 2005 Blue Cross Broad Street Run 10 Miler, Philadelphia, PA. Locally, she was the 1st US female in the 2005 Ogden Newspapers 20K, Wheeling, WV. On this day, Parks finished 2nd overall, 1st female with a time of 17:48.
Honorable mention goes to 73-years young, Zafar Nomani, who enjoyed his first running race ever. Nomani's daughter and grandson greeted him at the finish and crossed the line with him.
Thanks to all the volunteers who made it possible. Thanks to Rocky Kimble and crew of the Morgantown Roadrunners and WV Track Club for the professional timing, and special thanks to Gail Anderson Vincent for the beautiful, hand-crafted awards.