Saturday, May 1, 2010 -- Kingwood, WV / Preston County Country Club
Cheat Fest 5K Run & Walk
Celebrating 6 Races and 16 Festivals
Photos by Maria af Rolen with story by Jason Chastain.
The race course meandered through lovely country roads and trails that are all adjacent to the Preston County Country Club. Racers came from all over the region and neighboring states. Many friendly volunteers were on-hand to help with everything from parking to making sure no one got off the marked trail.
Everyone that I spoke with said the course wasn't too demanding and that it was 'just right'. The age of the competitors ranged from 9 to 75 and there were smiles and laughs a-plenty for everyone.
The top two runners of the day ran sub-seventeen minute times. Derek Bolyard (Elkins, WV) and Tommy Boone (Buckhannon, WV) volleyed for first, keeping up an average 5:26 pace. Bolyard's experience won him the overall title, beating Boone by 3 seconds with a time of 16:51.
Katie Wolpert (Belington, WV) kept ahead of Debbie Conner (Dunbar, PA) to be the first female finisher with a time of 20:35. Conner was second with a time of 20:43. Tammy Elizabeth Kirksey was third.
Honorable mention goes out to nine-year old Declan Horner of Swanton, MD, who finished fourteenth overall for the day.
Unique awards and festival passes were given at the race's end. The ceramic dyed EnvironOxide medallions crafted by a local potter, Gail Vincent, are always a well-received 'trophy'.
While all of the profits from this event went to the Preston Rail Trail Committee, many participants were only warming up before heading over to the 16th annual Cheat Fest- Dedicated to Keith Pitzer.
History of the Festival Site and New Happenings
In 1998, with the purchase of the festival site, a site committee was formed with the help of Keith Pitzer. They envisioned using the property as an environmental learning center.
Danielle Adams, OSM Vista 2004-06, re-energized that vision and a committee of like-minded yet diverse constituents was convened and the Friends of the Cheat (FOC) Outdoor Classroom project was born.
As quoted on the Friends of the Cheat (FOC)site,
"We have made significant progress in the development of The Doug Ferris Outdoor Classroom and Nature Learning Center. This classroom will include the Eloise Morgan Milne Pavilion & the Doug Ferris Nature Learning Trail. To date, we have raised over $37,000 for the pavilion, through a combination of donations and DEP grants. It is estimated that the pavilion will cost $45,000. FOC needs to raise an additional $8,000 for the pavilion alone. We have $3,085.80 for the Nature Trail, which are memorial donations in Doug's memory. His family asked that donors make contributions to this fund in lieu of flowers after his death in December 2007."
The FOC had a ground breaking ceremony for the pavilion on August 26th, 2009,and Jake Pitzer prepared the ground for the foundation. In early December the foundation was poured and the slab was finished by Paul Schreiner and a group of 11 dedicated volunteers.
Jim Snyder and Chip Medford also volunteered many hours to upgrading the electric service for the festival vendors - the power lines are now underground. On Saturday of Easter weekend they finally got the pavilion erected thanks to a great crew of volunteers. Friends of the Cheat thanks all who have given so much to make this pavilion possible.
See more Pavilion Pictures on the FOC site.
This past Fall, Jake Pitzer worked on preparing the channel by the open mine portal at the site. The portal will first drain into an open limestone channel and then drain into a nearby wetland to demonstrate a passive treatment for acid mine drainage. They also planted some Maple trees along the riverbank to help with streambank restoration.
The FOC hopes that this site will become a dynamic learning area for environmental concepts, and that it will encourage a passion for understanding nature in our evolving world.
Friends of the Cheat hopes you also see this as a valuable project and help us reach our goal by making a tax deductible donation to the pavilion.
You can donate to the Eloise Morgan Milne Pavilion using Paypal at cheat.org
Or call the FOC office to use a credit card at 304-329-3621, Or mail a check made out to FOC to:
Friends of the Cheat (FOC)
119 S.Price Street, Suite 206
Kingwood, WV 26537
Please note on your form or when you call that you would like your donation to go towards the pavilion.