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Saturday, April 1, 2000 -- Monongah, WV
April Fool's Day Far Out 5/15K Classic
Story and photos by George Gannon

[Details] [Coverage] [5K Results] [15K Results] [Pic Set 1] [Pic Set 2]

15K Runners
A great day for a run in the park
Early morning in Mary Lou Retton Park was the site of the first ever April Fool's Day Far Out 5/15K Classic. The sun gleamed brightly in a perfectly blue, Fairmont sky, while the wind blew across empty baseball diamonds and a muddy field. Even though it was the first day of April, the somnolent racers were not foolin' anybody. Each one of them was ready to shake off the morning cobwebs and tackle the new course.

The out and back course leads the racers uphill at the start and wraps behind the park to the West Fork River Trail. The 5K racers follow the trail for approximately one mile. The 15K racers go for about seven miles and cross into the town of Monongah. The course sends them back the way they came, with the most grueling part the one-mile uphill before the entrance of the park. The park entrance, the final downhill of the course, was peppered with just enough incoming and oncoming traffic to give the racers a small taste of what was waiting for them at the finish area. The homestretch was a narrow corridor of parked cars and moving automobiles that provided one final challenge for the competitors before they crossed the finish line.

5K Runner
Wonder who I'm leaving behind?
Alderson-Broaddus' Mikey Guinn shot out to a quick lead and never looked back. He lead the pack the entire way and dodged enough moving cars to find the finish line first overall (17:22), familiar territory for cross-country phenom. Fayetteville's Larry Taylor, who Guinn claimed might have been saving his stuff for the next race, finished a few seconds off the pace (17:55). Craig McDougal took the number three spot (20:17).

For the women, the ladies from Alderson-Broaddus proved they could bring it just as hard as the men. AB's Robin Stone did her thing, taking top honors for the women (22:58). Fairmont's own Melissa Pearson took number two honors (25:12). Rounding out the top three was another AB runner, Jill Bramer (25:15).

15K Runner
A little shade after 15K is worthy of a smile
In the 15K, Larry Taylor, sporting his WVOutside t-shirt, complemented his number two showing earlier in the day by taking the number one spot overall (57:14). Fairmont native Greg Redeker took the number two spot (64:02). Joey Herron grabbed the number three spot (67:50)

The top woman finisher for the long race was Sandra Armstrong (75:03). Following her was Mel Watkins (77:09). The number three spot went to Elaine Wykle (78:40)

The first April Fool's Day Far Out Classic was a great race with some "unexpected" challenges. Each racer, navigating a tough course and some live traffic, deserves a special recommendation and, just like Mary Lou, a spot on a Wheaties™ box.