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Saturday, May 6, 2000 -- Winchester, VA
Apple Blossom 10K
Story and photos by Don Parks

[Details] [Coverage]
Results: [1-249] [250-499] [500-676] [Class 5-24] [25-39] [40+]
Pictures: [Set 1] [Set 2] [Set 3] [Set 4] [Set 5] [Set 6] [Set 7] [Set 8] [Set 9]
[Set 10] [Set 11] [Set 12] [Set 13]

Leaders
The lead runners fly through the first mile
The 73rd Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival kicked-off Saturday's activities with the 19th running of the SunCom Apple Blossom 10K. With temperatures quickly approaching the eighties by race time, it was good to know that the new course was relatively flat, with just a few uphill grades.

With about 700 revelers of all ages ready to take to the streets of Winchester, Virginia, they gathered for the start right in front of Handley High School. The start signal was given just after 9:00 AM as the lead vehicles guided the crowd right past the Grand Feature Parade main grandstands. The course did a quick 1-mile loop around the High School before heading out on portions of the parade route. The second half of the run was an out and back jaunt on Valley Avenue & Jubal Early Drive before the finish back in front of the grandstands.

Stroller
Some folks had an easier time with the heat than others
By the end of the first mile a lead group of five emerged at the front. After another mile it was down to four with Joseph Gibson, Sergey Shalomeyer, Bobby Lockhart and Michael Scaffardi leading the charge. The first two miles had this group running at a pace just under five minutes per mile.

Mile three saw Scaffardi, of Latrobe, PA, dropping off the pace. Also fighting to hang at the front was Lockhart, a seventeen year-old local Handley H.S. sophomore.

At the 5K mark, Gibson and Shalomeyer began to pull away from the field as they continually battled back and forth, jockeying for the lead. Gibson, who is finishing up his degree at Clemson University after racing for their crosscountry and track teams, lead the pair around the final corner.

Shalomeyer, a Russian runner who is currently in the United States, pulled ahead on the final stretch, but Gibson later said, "I was just letting him show his cards first." Inside the last 100 meters Gibson sprinted around Shalomeyer and, as he said after the race, "kicked into my final gear." It was enough to give him the win in 31:16.

Shalomeyer (31:18), who raced in a marathon the previous weekend, said, "I had no fresh legs for the sprint at the finish, but I still had a good race." Like most of the day's runners, he also admitted that the heat was a bit stifling.

Third overall went to Lockhart with a time of 31:50 with Scaffardi taking fourth in 32:38.

Fun
Elexa and Marla enjoy a day in the sun
The women's competition also had a visiting Russian, Elvira Kolparova, bidding for a win. The European 100K distance champion had just come back from a second place women's finish in the Big Sur Marathon.

For the first 1.5 miles Kolparova ran stride for stride with Maria Spinnler, a native of Hagerstown, Maryland. About this time, Spinnler decided to test Kolparova's legs and surged ahead. When she realized the Russian wasn't responding, she went on building her lead on the way to a first place finish in 37:11. Kolparova still captured second with a time of 38:29. After the race she said she hadn't recovered from the marathon and "didn't like the heat." But she went on to add that she "liked the course."

There were hundreds more impressive finishes from folks of all abilities. Surviving the heat while running through all the festival atmosphere was an accomplishment that would make anyone proud. And, now that it was all over, it was time to enjoy an afternoon of pageantry as only the Apple Blossom Festival Grand Feature Parade can deliver.

Making this run possible, among the numerous festival events, a big thanks must go out to race director Rosie Schiavone and all her supporting cast and wonderful volunteers. It is also nice to get the support from generous sponsors including, SunCom, Geon/O'Sullivan Corporation, Manpower, Coca-Cola, The Marathon Bank, and Winchester Physical Therapy and Sports Medicine, Inc.