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Sunday, September 12, 1999 -- Helvetia
Helvetia 10K Mountain Run
Story and photos by Don Parks

[Coverage] Pictures: [Set 1] [Set 2] [Set 3] [Set 4]
[Overall Results] [Results by Class]

For more Helvetia pictures, including the 1999 Square Dance and the fun at Rogers' place, see the 97 Mile Ride to Helvetia.

A beautiful morning for a run in Helvetia
The 85th Annual Helvetia Fair once again held the 10K Mountain Run as part of its festivities. After Saturday's packed agenda of Swiss Folk Dance programs, arts and crafts, a parade, square dancing and more, the small historic town of Helvetia set the stage for one big running race.

Putting the big in this run is the final climb. The first half of the race is made up of relatively flat paved roads and some rolling hills on dirt roads and trails. The real test begins close to the 4-mile mark when a 3/4-mile climb sends the runners up a grueling off-road mountain ascent. The reward at the top is a water stop and a fast dirt road descent of over one mile to the finish.

With perfect late summer weather greeting everyone at the Helvetia Store, the starting signal was given at 9:00am. Charging to the front early was a pair of 17-year-olds, Matt Lewis and Joshua Brown, who were running 1st and 2nd, respectively, at the 2-mile point. Not far back were the more seasoned legs of 45-year-old Gary Smith and 35-year-old Todd Price running in 3rd and 4th, respectively. At this point the women's field saw female course record holder Rebecca Falbo-Schoonover running stride for stride with Liz Nashold and Delores Bonnell.

Ashley Varian races through the shadows
Over the course of the next mile and a half, Price methodically moved his way up through the ranks to take the lead position at the base of the climb with Lewis holding on to second. Smith also moved up as he now held the third position with Brown dropping back to fourth. Meanwhile Falbo-Schoonover and Nashold continued to pace each other toward the mountain that waited ahead.

Hitting the climb first, Price extend his lead as the rest of the field was left to battle for second. Making the most of the brutal ascent was Brown who had pushed his way into the second position. Running in third was Smith and fourth was Lewis, both keeping Brown within sight. The climbing also had Falbo-Schoonover pushing ahead as Nashold later said "She (Falbo-Schoonover) killed me on the up hill!"

The downhill race to the finish had Price reaching the line first in a time of 42:13 with Brown holding his second place spot to finish at 43:27. Taking third place was Lewis (43:53) who used his young legs to get around fourth place finisher Smith (44:09).

Going Up
Just one hill, but that is plenty
Finishing an impressive seventh overall was Falbo-Schoonover (45:33) who took almost two minutes of her 1998 course record of 47:15. However, this still wasn't enough in 1999 as Nashold recovered from the climb to pass her on the downhill. Nashold's new course record of 45:21 put her in sixth overall for the day. Taking third among the women was Delores Bonnell with a time of 49:42.

Many more folks enjoyed the wonderful morning in Helvetia. They gathered at the finish to cheer on all the finishers before generous awards and prizes were distributed. With some of the best race t-shirts we've seen, a refreshment table complete with homemade cookies, and a downhill finish that everyone seemed to love, you can bet that they'll be plenty more racing in Helvetia's future.