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Thursday, July 3, 2008 -- Charleston, WV / Haddad Riverfront Park
Independence 5K Run/Walk (iPO Event Id#: 10898)

[Details] [Coverage] [Photos] [Overall Results] [Results by Class]

Coverage: [2005] [2006] [2007]

Skies Clear Just in Time

Story and photos by Drew Smithberger

Photo by Drew Smithberger
With clouds overhead, racers head into town
Charleston West Virginia's Fourth of July weekend festivities began Thursday night with the Independence 5K run and walk at the beautiful Haddad Riverfront Park. Located along the Kanawha River in downtown Charleston, it was a great location for the event.

Over 120 runners and walkers were on hand to enjoy this annual event hosted by the city. The views along the river including several sternwheelers docked near the amphitheater are remarkable and reminded me of my hometown. The flat course took the competitors down Kanawha Blvd. along the scenic Kanawha River and retuned along the same route.

Rain was in the forecast and puddles were on the ground but fortunately pre-race showers stopped short of the race start allowing everyone to enjoy a very competitive race and, as luck would have it, only a handful of competitors were still on the course when the skies opened up once again.

Concord University's distance runner and Academic All American, Lance McDaniel, ran a race that would make his daddy proud!

Photo by Drew Smithberger
Racing along riverside
McDaniel took the overall win with the evening's only sub sixteen minute time at 15:58. Lance, from Stuart Virginia, is taking an internship this summer in Charleston. Jeremy Bartley was next across the line with a solid time of 16:11. Third place overall would go to Travis Cyphert coming in at 16:18.

Maria Busienei hammered out a very impressive race! Her time of 16:58 gave her the women's category win and was good enough for Fifth place overall. It appears all her solo training is paying off.

The second female finisher, Susan Baldwin, put up a respectable time of 20:27. Mandy Musick rolled in next for the women posting a solid effort with a time of 21:09 to round out the top three ladies.

Mark Rooper would be the first of the walkers to arrive, followed by Noah Wilbur.

The first female walker to cross the line was Kim Hudley. It was Maggie Phillips arriving next for the women walkers. A total of nine walkers turned out for the fun. Refreshments for all and awards followed the race.

Thanks to Cheryl Gaynor and crew for organizing such an excellent event, it was a huge success! This was my first visit to West Virginia's capitol city for quite some time and I must say it is an incredibly beautiful area. I hope to visit again soon.

Don't miss the next run/walk in the Charleston area. On Saturday, August 2, in Coonskin Park the Children's Therapy Clinic presents the Make A Miracle 10K Run and 5K Run/Walk. The races start at 9:00 am.