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Saturday, June 2, 2007 -- Morgantown, WV / Masontown, WV / Hazel Ruby McQuain Riverfront Park
Deckers Creek Trail Half Marathon-MAGP Endurance #3 (iPO Event Id#: 10000)

2007: [Photos] [Details] [Coverage] [Overall Results] [Results by Class]
Past Coverage: [2001] [2002] [2003] [2004] [2005] [2006]

The Heat is ON

Story and photos by JR Petsko

Saturday it was once again time for the fastest half marathon in West Virginia. Of course, I am talking about the Decker's Creek Trail Half Marathon which benefits the Mon River Trails Conservancy to help with trail maintenance. The half marathon was also event number three of the MAGP Endurance series.

Photo by JR Petsko
A nice day on the trail if you like it hot
Primarily a downhill course, the race begins on Decker's Creek Trail in Masontown and ends at Riverfront Park in Morgantown and has an elevation drop of approximately 800 feet over the 13.1-mile distance. Lucky for the runner most of the course was shaded by tree cover, because the temperatures on Saturday made their way into the high eighties even in the early morning hours.

After all the runners were transported to the Masontown end of the trail by buses it was time to go racing. After chatting it up with a few race participates I headed down the trail to take photos. Just a few minutes later the first runner came into view. Ron Weist of Fairmont, WV was the first to pass by my shaded spot. Not long after Weist got out of my sight, Larry Taylor of Fayetteville, WV made his way down the trail with George Angelos not far behind. The top three runners looked strong at this early point in the race, but I wonder how the mileage and heat would affect them.

Just about a minute later a pack of runners came blazing down the trail. The mass of runners included Jeremy Rice of Frostburg, MD, John Snodgrass of Morgantown, WV, Jim Cummings of Mannington, WV, Issac Rivera of Staten Island, NY, and a lone female runner, Heather Parks of Bruceton Mills, WV.

Photo by JR Petsko
Don Parks feeling strong early on
On a side note Heather's husband and founder Don Parks was seen out on the course looking strong early on. I say this because when he passed me by he pulled up his shirt sleeve and flexed his bicep. That's our Don! After finishing up my photos I jumped in the car and headed down to a spot about a quarter of a mile away from the finish.

By this time the heat was becoming unbearable for me sitting in the sun taking photos. I couldn't even image how it felt for the runners. Once again the first runner to come into sight was Weist who crossed the line in 1:13:12.66 to take the win. Coming in second was Angelos who passed Taylor out on the course to finish in a time of 1:19:01.90. Taylor was able to hold on to third finishing in 1:22:02.06. Rice came a crossed the line two minutes back of Taylor in 1:23:58.66 for fourth overall. Rounding out the top five was Snodgrass finishing in a time of 1:27:29.52.

Photo by JR Petsko
Everyone is a winner for helping support the MRTC
On the women's side Parks continued her dominance out on the course taking the overall female win in a time of 1:28:05.20. Park also finished eighth among all runners male and female. I caught up with Parks after the race to ask her how see felt about the run. "It was awful because it was so hot, I threw up three times with a half mile to go in the race", Parks stated. Coming in second was Laurie Pemberton of Morgantown, WV finishing in a time of 1:35:43.48. Heather McDaniel of Grafton, WV took third overall for the women crossing the line in 1:37:24.07.

Hats off to everyone who participated in the run, the heat was brutal and you all made the most of it. Thanks to everyone who helped to put on one of my favorite events in Morgantown. Hope to see you all in 2008 and we'll hope for some cooler weather.