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Saturday, May 5, 2007 -- Charleston, WV
Susan G. Komen West Virginia Race for the Cure (iPO Event Id#: 10070)

2007: [Photos] [Details] [Coverage] Results: [Overall Results] [Results by Class] [Teams]

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Article and photos by JR Petsko

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A Day for Remembrance and Celebration
For those of us who exercise alone you know that the time you spend out on the trail lets your mind become free. You tend to reflect on times about things in your life, past and present. That feeling of meditation is pretty standard thing when it comes to exercising, but it is very rare when an event itself brings out those same kinds of metal processes.

Fortunately for all of us there are events like the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure® to do just that. It is pretty safe to say that all of us have lost someone close to us to cancer. We should all thank events like the Race for the Cure for giving people an arena to publicly remember loved ones lost. It's also gratifying to help raise money to find a cure for this terrible disease.

The Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation Race for the Cure® Series raises significant funds and awareness for the fight against breast cancer, celebrates survivorship, and honors those who have lost the battle with the disease. With monies raised by the Series, the Komen Foundation with its affiliates is able to fund breast cancer grants, meritorious awards, and community outreach programs.

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Komen Race-Photo by JR Petsko
Since its inception in 2001, the Komen West Virginia Race for the Cure has raised over $200,000. The money has been used to support life saving programs throughout West Virginia. Up to 75% of the funds raised stays in West Virginia to fund education, treatment, and screening programs for underserved populations.

It was my first time covering this event and I was in disbelief of the amount of people who gathered in front of the Capital. I knew it was a large event, but hearing about its massive size and seeing it for yourself are two totally different things.

With everything going on around me it was easy to forget that there was an actual race about to happen, but as the mass of participates assembled at the start line I quickly remembered why I was there.

The runners took off from the line it was like a moving wall coming at me. I made it to the grassy divider between traffic lanes where I thought I would be safe, and out of the way of racers to take their photo.

Did I say, safe and out of the way? That's pretty much never the case with 700 runners coming at you.

Komen Race-Photo by JR Petsko
Komen Race-Photo by JR Petsko
More and more people looked to pass the slower participants and space was running out rapidly on grassy divider where I was shooting from. I eventually became part of the race course. This made for some great photos because of the look on some peoples face when they saw me there taking photos right in front of them, but if there was a photo of the scared look on my face circulating out there it would be priceless. I quickly collected myself and continued shooting photos since situations like that are just another day in the life of an photographer.

The runners finally disappeared down the road so I made my way across the street to capture more images. Now the walkers departed the starting area. It was a site I will not soon forget. Thousands of walkers, all wearing their Race for a Cure T-shirts, all here for the same cause headed out on the course.

I can't say for certain that know how anyone with cancer feels, but I imagine some feel alone out there in the world. If they only knew all of these people where here to support them.

Komen Race-Photo by JR Petsko
Komen Race-Photo by JR Petsko
To help you get a clearer mental picture of the amount of people I am talking about imagine this; it took about 16 minutes for the first runner to make his way back towards my position at the start/finish line. In that amount of time all the walkers had still not cleared the starting area due to all of the people in front of them. Now that's what I call a great turn out.

The first runner to pass by me and cross the finish line was Jason Pyles of Huntington, WV taking the overall win in a time of 15:31.85. Pyles put on a great display of his running ability over the five kilometer course. Pyles is also no stranger to winning races on the streets of Charleston. In 2004 he won the 5k course of the Charleston Distance run.

Coming home in second overall was Travis Epling of Point Pleasant, WV (Home of the Mouth Man). Epling was unable to defend his 2006 win at the race for the cure against Plyes, but Epling was able to cut his time from year to finish in 15:52.55.

Brooks Crislip a local Charleston, WV resident was able to hold off last year's runner-up John Davis of Huntington, WV to take the third place position in 16:10.75.

Komen Race-Photo by JR Petsko
Komen Race-Photo by JR Petsko
For the women it was Maria Busienei formally of Kenya and now a local Charleston, WV resident and 2004 winner of the Charleston Distance run, finish well in front of the hometown crowd. Busienei blazed along the 5k course to win the women's overall title in 17:04.30. Busienei was able to put some significant time between herself and her fellow competitors out on the course.

Megan Schuerger of Spring Hill, WV crossed the line in 20:09.95 to take the runner-up positions. Not far behind Schuerger was Rachel Cipolat of Beckley, WV taking home third overall for the females in a time of 20:26.90.

In the survivor's class Deborah McHenry of St. Albans, WV crossed the line first in a time of 27:55.20. Hot on her heals was Mendy Fisher of Winfield, WV and Janet Proctor of Victor, WV just 25 seconds back of McHenry. Fisher would take second in the class, finishing in a time of 28:20.50 with Proctor taking third in 28:21.60. Congratulations to these strong women.

Once again, the Race for the Cure was an enormous success. Thanks to the thousands of participants and the hundreds of volunteers, without all of you this race could never have happened. Also thanks to all the sponsors who put forth their time and money for this wonderful cause.