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Saturday, August 4, 2001 -- Benwood, WV
Debbie Green Memorial 5K Run & Walk (iPO Event Id#: 2042)
Story and photos by Don Parks and Julie Black

We've added over 300 more photos taken by Julie Black.

[Details] [Coverage]
Results: [Overall Run] [Overall Walk] [Run by Class] [Walk by Class]
Pictures: [Set 1] [Set 2] [Set 3] [Set 4] [Set 5] [Set 6] [Set 7] [Set 8] [Set 9]
[Set 10] [Set 11] [Set 12] [Set 13] [Set 14] [Set 15] [Set 16] [Set 17]

Click to see past Debbie Green race coverage provided by
[1998 Coverage] [1999 Coverage] [2000 Coverage]

Race Pic
A sprint to the finish at Debbie Green
With over 40 fantastic sponsors, a post-race party with all the trimmings provided buy Undo's Restaurant, live entertainment, raffle prizes worth thousands of dollars, and the list goes on and on. It's no wonder that in just 4 short years, the Debbie Green Memorial 5K has grown from just under 300 runners and walkers, to over 1000 registered participants.

Benwood, a small burb of Wheeling, West Virginia greatly supports this charitable race with many donating their registration fees with no intent of stepping to the starting line. This year's beneficiary of all the generosity was 8 year old Rob Kemp from Belmont, Ohio. Young Rob has been diagnosed with Leukemia, the number one killer of children between ages 1 and 15. There is hope, and a lot of help out there. Through the efforts of race director Ron Green and family, and the many folks who braved the humidity either by racing or volunteering for this event last Saturday evening, all of the proceeds will help Rob receive the best treatment available in memory of Debbie Green. (Please check below for Debbie's story.)

Race Start
A parade of runners and walkers start the race
For the 4th annual race, a new challenge had been added, and this one was "just for the kids". Debbie's Dash kicked off the event in great form, with a crowd of children ages 6 and under running a 100 yard dash from "the tracks" to the finish line. Parents and grandparents eagerly watched as small tikes with their tongues hanging out (Michael Jordan style), provided the pitter-patter of tiny feet down Marshall Street. The competition was tough, but every child was a winner, sporting a brand new racer's ribbon and a nice big cookie when it was all said and done.

For the main event, the pre-race favorite was local Wheeling runner Ricky Moore. The 20-year-old Moore had won the first three Debbie Green 5K races and was looking to make it four-for-four. With stifling summer air and a host of able challengers, Moore had his work cut out for him.

Kid Pic
The kids always know it's fun to play outside
Off the line he quickly took up his usual position at the front. The toughest challenger early on was Fayetteville's Larry Taylor who kept it close for most of the first mile. After that Taylor may have felt the effects of running (and winning) the Blackberry Festival 5K earlier in the day. He was picked off by several runners and faded back to fifth place by the middle of the race.

Still, no one was going to catch Moore as he went on to post the win with a time of 15:42. His victory, while slightly off his course record 15:32 set in 2000, was enough for his biggest margin of victory in all four races. Second place went to Akron, Ohio's Scott Jones with a time of 16:07. Meanwhile, Taylor went back to work in the second half of the race to move back up to third with a time of 16:21.

After the race we had some questions for Ricky, "How does it feel to be the winner for the 4th time in a row, and how'd you manage to do it again?!" His response was, "It feels good. I felt good, even though it was so hot. But maybe one of these days I'll learn to run even splits... pace myself. I always start out way too fast! Like [Steve] PreFontaine, but I still felt really good out there."

Race Pic
Racing through the streets of Benwood
The women saw a new champion with Morgantown's Heather Bury shattering the course record of 19:22 set by Charity Pefferman in 1999. The 26-year-old Bury, who runs for Saucony and PowerBar, turned an 18:04 to take home first overall honors.

Racing for second place were two 17-year-olds in Jessica Taylor and Katrina Jones. The first half of the race had Taylor in the lead but Jones had a strong second half and moved ahead and finished at 19:25 to Taylor's 19:39.

Among the race walkers it was no surprise to see Penn Hills' Steve Bence dominate the field with a time of 25:17. In a close battle for second it was Ken James (27:54) edging out John Yoker (27:56). For the women it was Wheeling's Cathy Campbell taking the win at 31:42. Rounding out the top three were Paula Curtin (33:10) and Heidi Ferns (33:22).

Finish Pic
Finishing with a big smile
Many, many more runners and walkers made their way to the finish and to the huge party that waited for them. A special thanks goes out to all the volunteers, sponsors, the Runner's High for the results, and all the participants who made this race the largest 5K in the state of West Virginia!

The Debbie Green Story
Debbie Green was was just 4-years old when she was diagnosed with Leukemia in 1970. She went to WVU for treatments for 2 long years, and on February 10th in 1972, the town of Benwood held Debbie Green Day with a benefit show at St. John's School gymnasium. It was a very special day for Debbie, her family and her friends, and all who made the event possible. Unfortunately, only two months later on April 4, 1972, young Debbie passed away.