Share |

Saturday, June 3, 2000 -- Cairo - North Bend State Park, WV
22nd Annual North Bend Ridge Runner Races
Story and photos by Marty Lamp

[Details] [Coverage]
[Overall Results] [Results by Class]
Pictures: [Set 1] [Set 2] [Set 3] [Set 4] [Set 5] [Set 6] [Set 7]

North Bend Ridge Runner
Derek Griffiths striding to the finish
Although West Virginia has no surplus of USAT&F certified marathons to choose from this year, the 22nd Annual North Bend Ridge Runner Races continued to set the standard for challenging, demanding running races. With a 10 mile race also, even the short distance runners had a chance to enjoy the rolling hills. Many runners from all across the USA in pursuit of the 50 States & DC Club, a club whose only price of admission is to run a marathon in each of the 50 states and the District of Columbia, venture to relaxing North Bend State Park just outside of Cairo each year to grab their 26.2 miler in the mountain state.

Temperatures and weather conditions for the race this year were pleasant and sunny, but if you were out pounding the pavement searching for that 26th mile, you might argue that it was a little warm. Regardless, with low humidity and not a cloud in the sky, it was a great day for a run.

North Bend Ridge Runner
Tracey Hoare after running through Cairo
Don't think that this just another everyday run, though. This marathon is hands-down one of the toughest in the country. After starting at 7am (unless you opted for the covert 5am or 6am start), the first 6 or 7 miles are fairly friendly, but then things change. Every stride seems to be pushing you up another hill, or carrying you down the backside, slowly draining weary legs with each pounding step.

Around mile 15, runners face 1 1/2 miles of steep climbing just before getting on Victory Ridge Road, a gravel road that wears the feet down to a level on par with already painful legs. All this, and the final ten miles between Harrisville and North Bend State Park holds some of the steepest ups and downs on the whole course. The shorter 10 mile course proved just a shorter version of the marathon, with many of the same hills and challenges.

North Bend Ridge Runner
Tony Yurko says "Hi"
Looking like he could run another 26 miles, Derek Griffiths(2:58:06) from Cinncinati, Ohio, was the first person to finish the long run. It would be over 7 minutes before second place finisher Chip Allman(3:05:23) from Parkersburg crossed the finish line. Rowley Brucken(3:13:10) of Eminence, Kentucky rounded out the top three overall finishers.

The fastest lady on the course this day was Cindy Culley(3:51:20) of New Martinsville. Culley finished an impressive 21st overall, and was followed very closely by Lynne Lescott(3:52:55) of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and Megan Troy(3:53:35) of Washington DC. Lescott and Troy finished 23rd and 24th overall respectively, and a mere three minutes separated the three leading ladies!

North Bend Ridge Runner
10 Mile winner Bill Carney
In the 10 mile race, Bill Carney(59:16) of Morgantown took the checkered flag, finishing over 3 minutes ahead of second place finisher Cole Carpenter(1:02:39) of Harrisville. Mark Cooney(1:03:13) finished third overall.

Marlene Moore(1:23:12) of Charleston, West Virginia was the first woman to finish the short run, but it wasn't won easily as Kay Schmidt(1:23:45) of Alpine, Texas finished just some 30 seconds later! Moore and Schmidt finished 11th and 12th overall, and third place female finisher Kammy Woodward(1:29:22) finished 20th overall.

Thanks go out to Angel Adams, North Bend State Park, and all the volunteers who helped make this a fun and safe event for all.