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Saturday, May 6, 2006 -- Albright, WV
Cheat River Festival Road Race - MAGP #4(iPO Event Id#: 7379)

[Details] [Coverage]
[Overall Results] [Results by Class]
Pictures: [Set 1] [Set 2] [Set 3] [Set 4] [Set 5] [Set 6] [2005 Results]

Story and photos by Julie Black

Photo by Julie Black
Road racing in Albright, WV
Last year's Cheat Road Race raised over $1,000 for the Preston Rail Trail Committee, a local group working to convert abandoned rail road corridors to running and biking trails. Now in its 2nd year, the point to point race in Albright, West Virginia offered a scenic, rolling course and a beautiful finish line right at the banks of the Cheat River. Unique clay awards sculpted by local artist, Gail Anderson Vincent, were awarded along with free admission to the 12th Annual Cheat River Festival along with many other extras in racers goodie bags.

Friends of the Cheat (FOC), promotes partnerships and coalition building to pursue their mission, "To restore, preserve, and promote the outstanding natural qualities of the Cheat River Watershed." Through various methods, the FOC raises awareness and funds for the Cheat and its surrounding tributaries. The river-music festival, downriver kayaking race, and 5K run and walk mark the biggest weekend of the year for the organization. Bringing in thousands of participants, festival goers, volunteers, musicians, artists, vendors and more, the annual event is one of the largest grassroots efforts in the area.

Photo by Julie Black
Heather Parks, 2nd overall
In 2006, the Cheat River Festival Road Race expanded by becoming part of the Morgantown Area Grand Prix (MAGP). Sixteen running and walking events make up the series.

Zach Serian, a 17-year old North Marion High School Junior, set his personal record at the 2005 WV State Championships in the AAA 5000-meter cross country event. Serian challenged Heather Parks, an outstanding runner, on this day. Serian pushed through the pain to edge out his competition and finish 1st overall in 17:16.

Heather Parks paced herself after a rough start, "I spent too much of my energy in the first mile." Parks has a long list of running honors, most recently finishing as the 2nd US female in the 2005 Blue Cross Broad Street Run 10 Miler, Philadelphia, PA. Locally, she was the 1st US female in the 2005 Ogden Newspapers 20K, Wheeling, WV. On this day, Parks finished 2nd overall, 1st female with a time of 17:48.

Photo by Julie Black
Thanks for the great time!
Runner Jobey Knapton of East Fairmont High, was ranked 4th in the 135 pound AAA Wrestling class by the WV Wrestling Coaches Association in February 2006. Also 17 like Serian, Knapton claimed 3rd overall in 18:01. Debbie Conner of Dunbar, PA, finished 1st in the 35-39 women's class in the 2006 Yough River Trail Council Half Marathon. Second female overall in the Cheat 5K, Conner (20:59), finished 14th overall. She is currently ranked 6th woman in the MAGP series. Teresa Lyons (22:32), of Morgantown, WV was 3rd.

Honorable mention goes to 73-years young, Zafar Nomani, who enjoyed his first running race ever. Nomani's daughter and grandson greeted him at the finish and crossed the line with him.

Photo by Julie Black
Gail Anderson Vincent's hand-crafted awards
Race director, Danielle Adams, deserves a big thank you. She put a lot of time and effort into making this event a success.

Thanks to all the volunteers who made it possible. Thanks to Rocky Kimble and crew of the Morgantown Roadrunners and WV Track Club for the professional timing, and special thanks to Gail Anderson Vincent for the beautiful, hand-crafted awards.