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Saturday, August 26, 2000 -- Uniontown, PA
O'Gillies - MVP Jewelers Classic 5K Run/Walk
Story by Don Parks with photos by Mike Monroe

[Details] [Coverage] [Overall Results] [Results by Class]
[Pic Set 1] [Pic Set 2] [Pic Set 3]

Shelley & Abby
Shelley and her ferocious running partner Abby, ready for O'Gillies
With the wonderful support of O'Gillies pub (you can visit the O'Gillies web site, but it's still under construction... however, we do recommend you take look at some of their wonderful staff!) and MVP Jewelers (they're suppose to have a web site, too, MVPJewelers.com, but it wasn't working when we last checked... however, you can take a peek at MVP Jeweler's David Pineda who was in attendance) the resurrection of Uniontown's West Main Street Classic began on a Saturday evening, August 26th.

The first edition of the O'Gillies - MVP Jewelers Classic 5K was pulled together in a short time with the direction of Don Norman. With a start and finish in downtown Uniontown, right outside of O'Gillies, a great crowd of runners and walkers were ready to go at 6:30pm. It was a warm evening, nothing unusual for August, but the promise of cold beverages, especially those served on-tap, had everyone ready to cruise through the 3+ miles of rolling Uniontown streets.

Race Start
Hitting the streets of Uniontown... running
Jumping off the line in a real hurry was Joel Pullem, but it didn't take long until he had to back off the throttle. However, he was successful in playing the rabbit and setting the group of lead runners out to a quick start. Following Pullum's charge was a group consisting of Josh Horner, Eddie Filcheck, Joseph Carei and Lance Gallagher.

Around the half-mile point of the race, Horner took a look back from what was now a race he was leading. Taking business into his own hands he quickly surged ahead of the field and never had to look back again. Horner sped to the downhill finish and recorded a winning time of 15:58, almost a minute and a half ahead of the rest of his rivals.

Janet Johnston
It's all downhill from here for Janet Johnston
The battle for second place was settled early as the front-runners filed into what would be their finishing positions shortly after Horner raced off the front. Second place went to Filcheck with a time of 17:26 with third awarded to Carei with a time of 17:48. Gallagher (18:47) had just enough to keep Ronald Romanoff (18:55) and Rich Sandala (18:58) off his heels to capture fourth.

In the race for first among the women, it started with Janet Johnston and Danielle Lowe racing neck-and-neck for the first few hundered yards. But, Johnston's pace turned out to be a bit to quick for Lowe. Johnston found the finish line at 23:16 to take the win and credited her victory to her son, "I owe it all to my baby Christopher, I usually train with him." Lowe crossed the finish at 24:14 to secure second and third place went to Stephanie Jubin with a time of 24:35.

Walk winners included Ken James (27:53) as the overall male winner and Carolyn Brooks (34:27) as the overall female winner.

Bob Kukan
"I'd walk three miles to get to O'Gillies"
Maybe not the fastest in the evening's field, but certainly an inspiration for many area runners is the 70-year-old Bill McCandless of Connellsville, PA. As the story goes (and we're told he has it all on video tape!), McCandless had just completed a 5 mile race on Sept. 13, 1997, when he went into cardiac arrest. Fortunately, a doctor and an ambulance were on the scene in no more than 60 seconds. The revived McCandless was soon given a defibrillator with a pacemaker and, amazingly, was back out racing by Thanksgiving of that same year. Now he can joke about the disadvantage that the other runners have, "If their heart stops out there, they're in trouble; but I've got an automatic jump start to keep me going."

Well, after the race I went in to O'Gillies and gave a toast to the powerfully positive Mr. McCandless. And, I know I wasn't the only one celebrating a great evening of racing. With all the talk centering around the nice trophies and generous prizes (thanks MVP Jewelers) that had been awarded, it is easy to see that this race is well on its way to bringing back the big race numbers that attracted folks to the old West Main Street Classic.