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Sunday, August 6, 2006 -- Morgantown, WV
Gene's Run For Special Olympics - MAGP #10 (iPO Event Id#: 7424)

[Details] [Coverage] [Overall Results] [Results by Class] [Photos]

Past Coverage: [1998] [1999] [2000] [2001] [2002] [2003] [2004] [2005]

Photos and story by JR Petsko

Photo by JR Petsko
Gene's makes me happy...
This year marked the 20th anniversary of the Gene's Run for Special Olympics. In its span of two decades the race has grown leaps and bounds from its beginnings. The first Gene's Run had a total of 45 participates. That number has increased dramatically over the past 20 years. This year's event featured 206 runners and walkers from the tri-state area, and is now one of the best known events in the Morgantown region. Besides being the number ten stop one the MAGP circuit, this race has a special meaning.

You see, 20 years ago Martha L. Baker and Al Bonner (owner of Gene's Beer Garden) sat down at a table in the back of the local establishment and discussed ways to help the local community. Martha, a friend too many local runners, suggested a race through the South Park area. Al loved the idea, and they agreed that the Special Olympics would be the benefactor. Sadly, Martha passed away early this spring, which made this event that much more special. As the serving co-founder of the event, Al and Gene's run participants decided to dedicate this year's race to Martha. They didn't stop at just saying the event was in honor of Martha. The event shirts, which have become famous around Morgantown, also had a tribute to her on them this year. For those of you who didn't know this, the lady standing in front of Gene's on your shirt is responsible for this incredible event that we all love. The memory of her life will live on every year. Thank you Martha.

Photo by JR Petsko
It was hot August evening
The start time for this years event was moved back an hour because of the heat in previous years. Great idea, but Mother Nature didn't cooperate. Even with the late start time, the heat and humidity had everyone talking about taking it easy during the race.

There is a word of wisdom for you all. If a racer tells you they are going to take it easy an hour before the event starts, be ready for them to be flying. Regardless of what was said at the starting line, the runners took off like wild dogs were chasing them.

Jay Dolmage of Morgantown, WV took the lead from the start and never looked back. It was Jay's first MAGP race of the season, but that didn't keep him from finishing almost two minutes ahead of the field in a time of 20:30.36.

Photo by JR Petsko
Friends gather for a great cause
In second place was Tyler Lyon of Washington, PA crossing the line in 22:20.33. Lyon finished strong to hold a 15 second lead on the third place finisher Chris Cole of Morgantown. Considering Dolmage's time was the fastest since Mike Dudley ran a 20:11 in 1998, proves my point. Never believe a racer when they say they are going to take it easy, never.

The men weren't the only ones flying though South Park. It was the Heather and Heather show at the top of the women's podium. Heather Parks of Bruceton Mills, WV captured here fourth series victory of year in a time of 22:50.97. Parks, like her male counter part, showed the field that the heat was no match for her. Heather Stuart, also from Morgantown, finished strong in second place in a time of 25:17.47. It was Stuart's first series event of the year.

Rounding out the top three was 19 year old Kerry Davis of Philippi, also running in here first MAGP event of the years. Finishing in an impressive time of 27:44.96. Congratulations to every one who came out for this great event, and once again thanks to Martha.