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Saturday, June 24, 2000 -- Fairmont, WV
Run to Read 2000
Story and photos by Julie Bertsch

[Details] [Coverage]
Results: [5K O/A] [by Class] [15K O/A] [by Class] [Walk]
Pictures: [Set 1] [Set 2] [Set 3] [Set 4] [Set 5] [Set 6] [Set 7]

Run to Read 2000
The humidity and hills did not make this an easy 5K
The morning started off hot from the get go. A blazing sun and some major humidity hung overhead when over 100 runners and walkers took off from the starting line. This was the 2nd year for the race, and the entries nearly doubled for 2000, as compared to the numbers from the 1999 Run to Read. Quite an accomplishment, and all for a great cause.

This was not your average 5K race. There was clearly something for everyone to race in, with a 5K Run, 2.5K Walk, Fun Run, and even a 15K Run. The weather was brutal, with temps reaching well into the 80's early on. The racers who had accepted the challenges for the day were put to the test on Fairmont's hilly course.

Run to Read 2000
Larry Taylor shows us his style with his fast golden shoes
"You can't come to Fairmont and not expect a hilly course," I overheard a runner say. That statement really hit the nail on the head.

Training in heat as much as possible, Larry Taylor of Fayetteville, WV is no stranger to rolling treks through the mountain state. Finishing 3rd overall in his latest race, the Italian Heritage Festival 5K, Taylor came on strong right from the 1st hill to the last. Sporting the golden shoes (and a WVOutside shirt), Taylor took 1st place overall with a fast time of 16:58.

Run to Read 2000
Jessica Taylor leads the way for the women at the 1st loop
Hanging together up until mile 2 like a running herd was Jonathan Wright, Tyler DeVault, and E.J. Linger. Wright(17:16), finally pulled away from the pack and kicked it uphill to finish 2nd overall. DeVault kept Wright in his sights, and finished 5 seconds behind the 2nd place winner with a time of 17:21 to clench 3rd. E.J. Linger finished 4th overall and 1st in the Men's 25-29 age group respectively.

The race for the women's overall top spot was a tough one. Plenty of young competition, and former college & WV High School track stars were among the top 3. Jessica Taylor lead the way, keeping her strides wide with Holly Hunter nipping at her heals. Taylor was finally passed by Hunter. Taking the 1st place spot, Hunter gapped Taylor by nearly 30 seconds to finish with a great time of 19:28.

Wearing the same style yellow shoes as her father, Jessica Taylor(19:52) stayed ahead of Sara Walker(20:10) to capture 2nd for the ladies.

Run to Read 2000
Joe Dean keeps it steady through the heated 15K Run
The 15K Run was held after all of the other races were over. Some runners that had already ran in the hot 5K, dared to run in the 15K! Already warmed up from the 5K, Larry Taylor cruised out to the front and got himself some much needed water at the end of the 1st loop.

A familiar face with fresh legs was lurking in Taylor's shadow, waiting for an opportunity. Always in his blue shorts and matching racing cap, Joe Dean caught up to Taylor, and gapped him by 45 seconds to finish the 15K 1st with an excellent time of 58:14.

Taylor(58:59), finished 2nd overall. Joey Herron had also run in the 5K just before the 15K race. Herron took home the 3rd place trophy with a time of 1:04:00.

Run to Read 2000
The walkers pick up the pace
After the events, racers and their friends & families enjoyed a delicious spread, free swimming, incredible door prizes, and so much more! Of course the used book & rummage sale was a BIG part of the day's activities, because all proceeds benefitted the Literacy Volunteers America of Marion County. They are a United Way Agency which provides free tutoring in reading, math, and English as a second language, as well as related services. This race will continue to grow, especially now that it's part of the MAGP Series.

* For the Record... Rich Secrest was actually the first runner to hit the finish line in the 5K Run. At mile 2 he was ahead by 50 meters or so, and pulling ahead of Larry Taylor. Due to some confusion on the course, Secrest wound up running the wrong way. When he found this out, he asked the officials to DQ him right away, and said that he would not accept the overall winner's title. We would like to recognize Rich Secrest for his honesty, great sportsmanship, and athletic ability.
Make sure you're at the next race in the Morgantown Area Grand Prix Series which is the Spirit & Breath Challenge, held on the 4th of July, 2000.