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Saturday, May 20, 2000 -- Yellow Spring - Capon Valley, WV
Capon Valley 50K Run
Story and photos by Don Parks

For the latest information on the Capon Valley 50K, Click Here
[Details] [Coverage]
[Overall Results]
Pictures: [Set 1] [Set 2] [Set 3] [Set 4] [Set 5] [Set 6] [Set 7] [Set 8]

Chancellor & Steele
Jamie Chancellor & Claire Steele enjoy a day in Capon Valley
The beauty of Capon Valley once again attracted a crowd of endurance athletes for the 2nd Annual Capon Valley 50K trail run. With the number of participants doubling from the 1999 50K, it was a great tribute to the late Ed Bishop. Without his efforts in convincing the local community to support the run, the Capon Valley 50K may never have been more than a wild idea dreamed-up by Lynn Golemon. Ed passed away on May 24, 1999, just nine days after the innagural event, but his influence in the local area lives on as an enthusiastic field of runners converged on the Capon Valley Ruritan Club.

The cool, dank weather did little to dampen the spirits of the diverse field of participants. From the young ladies in their early twenties to the gentlemen well into their sixties; from the local runners familiar with the terrain to those visiting from as far away as Florida and California; from those out to break the course record to those just out for a long day's hike; everyone was eager to complete their goal of treking the 50K (31 miles) course.

Courtney Campbell
Keeping up with Courtney Campbell is a daunting task
At 8:00am, the starting signal was given and the adventure began with a short section of paved road before heading onto old country dirt roads and woodland trails. The rain held off, for the most part, but the heavy, wet air left the trails and trees soaked. While dodging (or just splashing through) the many puddles, it was necessary to take a little extra care to ensure secure footing. But, it didn't require any extra work to enjoy the natural beauty. The often foggy air combined with the rain-glossed leaves, grasses and trails made for scenery that many folks seldom have the pleasure to enjoy.

It was no surprise to see the previous year's winner, Courtney Campbell, tearing through the course at a pace few could match. Before the race Campbell had commented that he was hoping not to have to push himself too hard as he is preparing for the Laurel Highlands Trail 70 Mile Run on June 17th. But with the likes of Barry Lewis and Joe Clapper in the mix, Campbell was continually looking over his shoulder to see who might be chasing him.

Mark Marcelli
Mark Marcelli experiencing some wet and wild West Virginia
Lewis, from Philadelphia, did his best to give Campbell, from nearby Berryville, Virginia, a fight. As it turned out, Campbell quickly pulled ahead and never really had to look back. Blistering through the hills and valleys in a time of 3:22:39 at a pace of just over 6:30 per mile, he easily broke his old course record of 3:59:45 on his way to victory. The main difference from a year ago was that he learned to pay extra careful attention to the course markings. His victory in 1999 had included some extra mileage due to a little unintentional off-course detour.

Lewis's seven-minute miles had him finishing second in a very respectable 3:37:20. While he trailed Campbell by 15 minutes, it was another half-hour before the rest of the field started to cross the finish. After the race Lewis said, "It was a great course and I love to visit new places and experience new trails." When asked about racing Campbell, Lewis added, "He is just amazing."

The battle for third was not settled quite as simply as was the race for first and second. The trio of Clapper, Greg Zaruba and Serge Arbona arrived at the first few aid stations in a tight race behind the leaders. However, when Reid Lanham arrived at Check Point 5 (24 Miles), he got some interesting news. "I was a little surprised when they told me I was in fourth place," he confessed, "I knew that somebody must have gotten lost."

John Wall
John Wall negotiates his way downhill
It seems that Clapper, Zaruba and Arbona indeed did veer off trail mid-race and allowed the trio of Lanham, Mark Marcelli and Kevin Bligan to move into position to duel for third place honors. At the finish it was Marcelli (4:09:07) beating out Lanham (4:10:38) by just a minute and a half. Rounding out the top ten were Bligan, Arbona, Clapper, Zaruba, Lou D'Angelo and Jeff Hinte, respectfully.

The top finishing female in the mix was Philadelphia's Terri Handy. Her new women's course record time of 4:33:45 did not come without difficulty. Finding some of the footing a little tricky, Handy arrived at the finish a little worse for the wear with muddied clothes and a twisted knee. Carolyn Wilson (4:40:31) and Kim Weisgerber (4:53:29) took second and third and were the only other women to finish in under five hours.

Many more honors were handed out including the best time from each state represented, 12 in all, the fastest masters (55+), the oldest and youngest finishers, the fastest "rookie" ultra competitors, and even the "Turtle Award" given to those who spent the most time out on the course. All the awards presented were hand-crafted and locally donated items including everything from pottery to quilted pillows.

Gary Reilly
With the finish in sight, Gary Reilly breaks out a big smile
It was obvious that once again the Capon Valley Ruritan Club and the Capon Springs Volunteer Fire & Rescue had put together a quality event. Everyone went home weary, but with a full stomach and plenty of pride in knowing they'd conquered 30+ miles of some of the best trails that Capon Valley had to offer.

Special thanks must go out to the hard work put in by race director Lynn Golemon and the patience and support provided by her husband Bill Golemon. Without the assistance of numerous volunteers including Rosie Rollins, Dorothy Cooper, Paula Brown, Wendy Mattingly, Yvonne Cooper, and many, many more in the local community, this wonderful event would not be possible. To all these folks goes a huge thanks and best wishes for many more rewarding Capon Valley 50K races.