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Saturday, March 31, 2007 -- Charleston, WV
Joker Race (iPO Event Id#: 7845) - Story and photos by J.R. Petsko

[Details] [Coverage] [Overall Results] [Results by Class] [Photos]
[2006 Coverage]

Joker Race-Photo by JR Petsko
Jokers at the Joker Race
With spring right around the corner the racing schedule is really starting to pick up. Saturday came and it was time for me to jump in the car and head south to Charleston for the Joker Run organized by Charleston Parks & Rec. During the drive down the weather was looking less then favorable. Rain was falling from the sky by the bucket full. As most runners know, the weather is just a part of the sport, especially during these early spring events. While I pulled into the parking lot, something amazing happen. The rain just stopped. I looked to the sky and there was not a drop in site. I certainly underestimated how much power these people at the parks department really had! With the rain out of our hair it was time to go racing.

Joker Race-Photo by JR Petsko
Fog and trees make for misty mountain mystery
At the starting line, 87 runners, walkers, and wheelchair competitors prepared for the trek. This was a great turnout; up from 49 participates in 2006. A very familiar face was out in front. Larry Taylor of Fayetteville, WV jumped away from the pack in a hurry. Aaron Kaylor, Duane Dombek, and Steve Henry followed Taylor. All runners were determined to not to let him get too far ahead. As the last of the runners made their way under a huge tree with just a touch of fog it was a magical site to behold (see race photos).

Moving my way back to the finish line to see who would be the first to cross it, Taylor came into view. Coming in with a time of 22:48, Taylor captured the win with a fine display of his talents. The second place position would go to Kaylor finishing with a time of 24:53. Dombek finished with a time of 25:35. Dombek had his hands full to hold off Henry at the line who finished seconds behind him with 25:42.

Joker Race-Photo by JR Petsko
Hiding from the rain
On the women's side it was a photo finish. Kerri Blackwell and Krystal Robinson both crossed the line in 30:50. What made this even better was that the two crossed the line hand in hand, showing great sportsmanship. The winner went to Blackwell just to have an official winner. In third was Sarah Casey less then one minute back with a time of 31:32.5.

In other results, Dan O'Connor won the wheelchair division coming in with a time of 54:15. In the men's walking class Jerry Ramsey covered the walker's 2-mile course in a blazing time of 19:26. For the women's walker class, Sharon Rank finished first in 26:32.

As the racing action finished up it was as if the Parks Department said, "Okay, thanks, we're done Mother Nature." and the rain returned. I think I'll put in a call to them the next time I plain a picnic. It was a great event. Thanks to everyone who came out. Also, thanks to the Charleston Parks & Rec. department for putting it all together.