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Starting Line
Big Boy is ready to get his 22nd annual Classic underway...
Saturday, May 23, 1998, Wheeling
Big Boy Classic 20K

Some of the nicest weather in recent years greeted the runners in Wheeling for the 22nd annual Big Boy Classic. Although the crowd was not as big as it should have been (911 finishers) for one of the finest races in West Virginia, the leaders put on quite a race.

The early pace was not set by the Kenyan contingent as many had expected. Instead it was former West Virginia University runner Michael Dudley, 28, who was joined with Andrei Kuznetsov, 40, of Russia and Mexican Masters' champ Martin Mandragon, 44, who set the pace through much of the race.

The Start
...and it's time to party on the streets of Wheeling

Finally, the famed 29th Street Hill, a 1.25-mile climb, saw the Kenyans start to take control of the race. Mike struggled on the climb where the Kenyans James Kariyuki, Daniel Kihara, and Simon Sawe joined with last year's winner Simon Peter of Tanzania set the pace as they crested the hill. Mandragon and Kuznetsov held tough for the climb but could not match the pace on the downhill.

Early Leaders
Former WVU runner Mike Dudley set the pace for much of the race...

Leaders
But the group that followed contained a few patient Kenyans

By the time the dust had settled, Kariyuki crossed the line seconds ahead of Kihara with times of 1:02:16 and 1:02:18 respectively. Peter's final efforts fell short for his repeat victory bid as he settled for a strong third in 1:02:25. Mike Dudley paid for his early run at the front having to settle for an eigth place finish in 1:05:39, good enough for top West Virginian and top American finisher for the second straight year.

Other finishers of note included Kuznetsov, sixth overall, first in the masters division at 1:04:36, and Mandragon, ninth overall, second masters at 1:06:39. Kenyan Teresa Wanjiku placed first in 1:13:18 for the women after fighting off a strong effort from Lioudmilla Alexeeff of Canada. Also, Bill Rogers, the former "King of the Roads" and a three time Big Boy Classic Champion, set a 50-54 age group record at 1:10:43, taking 57 seconds of the previous record set by Bill Foulk in 1985.

Complete results and finishing times are available from Runner's High.