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Saturday, May 26, 2001 -- Wheeling, WV
Ogden Newspapers 20K Classic (iPO Event Id#: 2591)
Story and photos by Julie Black

[Details] [Coverage]
Results: [O/A 1-200] [201-400] [401-600] [601-831] [O/A Walk]
By Class: [Age 00-34] [35-44] [45-54] [50-99] [Walk by Class]
Pictures: [Set 1] [Set 2] [Set 3] [Set 4] [Set 5]
[Set 6] [Set 7] [Set 8] [Set 9] [Set 10]
See also: [Ogden Newspapers Mile]

Past Coverage:
[2000 20K] [2000 20K Walk] [2000 Mile] [1999 20K] [1999 Mile] [1998 20K] [1998 Mile]

Race Pic
Hanging with some fast company
The Memorial Day weekend in Wheeling, WV got off to a running start as racers and onlookers celebrated twenty five years of hills, sweat, and tears. The tears were tears of joy as many would express after the long climb up 29th Street. For many years the city has been hosting this gallant event. Wheeling's 20K Classic has now been dubbed with a new name for 2001, The Ogden Newspapers 20K Classic.

The race was been dedicated in honor of Bill Rodgers, a Hartford, CT native with a long list of running awards and achievements. Not only has Rodgers raced in the last twenty four 20K Classics in Wheeling, but he has also been inducted to the National Distance Running and Track & Field Halls of Fame.

This year's racers were competing for a prize package worth over $30,000. Quite a few of the world's elite runners stood in front of the large pack of participants gathered at the starting line. West Virginia Governor Bob Wise even gave the starting signal, first to the walkers and then the runners.

The 20K Run

Bill Rodgers
Just another 20K for Bill Rodgers
As the runners rounded the turn to sweep past the starting line, the pack of professional runners was thick. A stand out runner in the elite pack was 21 year old, John Yuda of Tanzania. With ideal temperatures on his side, Yuda rounded the last turn alone. His large lead and fast pace time of 4:54 per-mile earned him the overall win with a time of 1:00:41, just 24 seconds off Dionicio Ceron's course record set in 1990. Laban Kipkemboi (1:01:31), and Lazarus Nyakeraka (1:01:55), both from Kenya, topped out with places 2 and 3, respectively, at the 20K Run.

Placing 6th overall, and the first American to finish, was Thomas Omwenga of West Chester, PA with a time of 1:02:51.

Finishing 25th overall in the run, Teresa Wanjiku who clenched 1st for the women in the 1998 Wheeling Classic 20K, also crossed the line first for the ladies in 2001 with a time of 1:11:07. This Kenyan powerhouse has had a remarkable racing history and it looks to continue. Rounding out the women's top spots are Kenya's Gladys Asiba (1:11:41) and Jackline Okemwa (1:12:56).

The first West Virginia runner to "break the tape" was Wheeling native, Ricky Moore who finished 19th overall with a time of 1:09:14.

The 20K Walk

Terry Whitecotton
"The Legend" walks his way through Wheeling
This year there were more walkers than ever! The numbers were quite impressive for the 4th year of the 20K Walk. "I really want to win it this year!" said and excited Steve Bence just before the walk race began. For the 4th year in a row, Bence was the first male walker to cross the line. He won the overall title with a time of 1:56:23. Bence also holds the Men's 20K Walk course record of 1:54:19 that he set in 1998.

First place in the walk for the ladies went out to Wheeling native Katherine Campbell. Always finishing with a smile, Campbell walked the course in 2:15:12.

Honorable mention goes out to McMechen's own, George Macek, who after two knee surgeries, still came out to strut his stuff in the Ogden Newspapers 20K Walk.

Special Thanks: Goes out to Mark S. Courtney of The Runner's High for the fantastic work with the race results.