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Saturday, October 3, 1998 -- Salem
1998 Apple Butter Festival 5K

[More Pictures] [Results]

The Rails-to-Trials was a great place for a race
Throughout West Virginia, festivals are being held to celebrate the beauty and culture of West Virginia. And, on Saturday morning the Rails to Trails section from Salem to North Bend was the heart of outdoor festivity and activity in the state. While runners gathered at the Salem end of the trail to vie for the winning title of the Salem Apple Butter Festival 5K, mountain bikers trekked to North Bend to race in the Race for Shelter a long, winding 40 miles back along the trail to Salem.

Melinda Moran, the fastest female in the Race for Shelter
The Salem Apple Butter 5K had an outstanding showing of racers and almost perfect running conditions for their first annual event. The race started at the Flinderation Exit (off Route 50) section of the Rail Trail and twisted its way back on the well groomed trail into Salem, West Virginia, through the center of the Apple Butter Festival to finish at the post office. Over 130 runners gathered at the start line ready to take the challenge.

With a fast, but narrow start, the racers quickly thinned out into a sea of color on this otherwise gray morning. However, the cool morning and overcast skies aided the runners in capturing some of their best times of the season. The race leaders broke away from the pack early leaving their competitors with no chance of making up the distance between them.

Kids of all ages came out to enjoy the Rails-to-Trails
Derek Finnegan awed the spectators as he finished with an impressive time of 15:47 quickly halting all hopes of victory from his closest competitor, Josh Weekley, who finished behind Finnegan with a time of 17:21. The pack that followed in behind the winners offered onlookers a little more competition, and Matt Prince sprinted ahead of the others to capture the third place overall title with a time of 18:13. On the women's side, Melinda Moran took the first place overall women's title finishing, again well ahead of the competition, with a time of 20:45. Completing the overall winner's circle, Rosanne Walker at 22:27 and Kim Kapp at 23:38, carried home the second and third place trophies.

Derek Finnegan outran everyone on the trail
The 130 or so racers continued to stream into the festival grounds sprinting through the myriad of booths and vendors to the finish line. With so many runners out, there were lots of trophies and smiles at the award ceremony, and all of the runners went home (or to the Apple Butter Festival) with a ribbon. Sponsors of the race said that they were impressed with the large turnout of racers and were already looking forward to next year's event.