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Sunday, September 15, 2002 -- Helvetia, WV
Helvetia 10K Mountain Run (iPO Event Id#: 5003)
Story and photos by Don Parks

[Details] [Coverage]
[Overall Results] [Results by Class]
Pictures: [Set 1] [Set 2] [Set 3] [Set 4] [Set 5]
[1998 Coverage] [1999 Coverage] [2000 Coverage] [2001 Results]

On top of the mountain and the Helvetia Mountain Run
A little bit of rain couldn't keep the crowds from making their way to the 5th Annual Helvetia 10K Mountain Run. It is a challenging course in the best of conditions, so why does everyone keep coming back? If you don't know, then you've obviously never been there.

Part of every year's attraction surrounding the run is the Annual Helvetia Fair, now in its 88th year. The two day fair offers something for everyone, including a parade, Swiss Folk Dance programs, arts and crafts, square dance and more. We're sorry to say that we missed the square dance this year (but we didn't in 1999).

Race Pic
Debbie Goss splashes through the first two miles
The run starts off innocently enough with a scenic, and relatively flat, 2 mile "prologue" loop. A nice run on the pavement, down stream on the Left Fork for a mile. Cross a bridge and it's back up stream on a wide, tree covered, dirt road.

The third and fourth mile are a slow, unassuming, climb on pavement and then more dirt roads. But then you hit the wall! A 3/4-mile climb sends the runners up a grueling off-road mountain ascent. The only reward at the top is a water stop, but it is a fast dirt road descent of over one mile to the finish.

Larry Taylor did not have a lot of competition, without the possible exception of his PR at Helvetia, which he set with a win last year at 36:03. The conditions only gave up a 36:45 for him, but still a four-plus minute win.

Race Pic
Crowding the backroads at Helvetia
The race for second overall was quite a bit more exciting with Joseph White (41:04) taking Joe Dean (41:06) in an all out sprint in the last 100 meters.

It seems that big move might come on the final long downhill, but White could only keep Dean in sight. "I was trying to close the gap coming down, but that just wasn't working," commented White. But his final kick on the flat finishing stretch proved to be the difference.

For the women it was Rebecca Schoonover (47:44) getting the win once again, followed by Carol Davis (50:47) and Debbie Goss (56:01).

Race Pic
The Summerfield girls sprint for the finish
The win for Schoonover, who has completed race all 5 years, was her fourth win to just one second place finish in 1999. Kudos go to the five other perennial runners who have done all 5 years of the Helvetia 10k; Vic Ware, Bob Jones, Bob Fretwell, Tim Paushel, and Todd Schoonover.

A final shout-out goes to Penny Brown who ran the first run in 1998 and had a tough. She returned after 5 years to attack the hill again and bettered her time by 6 minutes and 49 seconds.