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Sunday, December 6, 1998 -- Kanawha City
Almost Heaven Marathon and Relay Competition
Story and photos contributed by Jen Cavender with the help of her AHM teammates, Julie Bertsch and Kelly Irvin.

[Coverage/Recap w/Pics] [Individual Results] [Team Relay Results]
Pictures: [Set 1] [Set 2]

You'd never know that it was December in WV based on the running attire of choice.
"I can't believe it's December." "Are you going to run in that?" "Don't you have any shorts?" "What a beautiful day for a race." These were among some of the phrases I heard while warming up for the first leg of the relay in the Almost Heaven Marathon. Unfortunately, I didn't bring along a pair of running shorts, just my winter tights.

The Almost Haven Marathon was December 6, 1998 in Charleston. Individual runners and relay teams alike lined up to run at 9:00 on a beautiful Sunday morning. With temperatures in the mid-seventies the day was unseasonably warm.

Henno Haava had no rivals as he took the tape with a new course record
The race begins and finishes at the Robert C. Byrd Medical Center by CAMC in Kanawha City. Consisting of three figure eight loops, the race winds through residential neighborhoods in Kanawha City and then proceeds down McCorkle Avenue past the University of Charleston. The course is all flat and is extremely fast. I recall one tiny dip, so if you want to qualify for Boston this is a great one to run. The course is USATF certified and is a Boston Marathon Qualifier.

Mike Dudley's course record of 2:24:13 was broken this year by Henno Haava with a time of 2:22:50. Haava led the race the entire time, and at mile 17 he had a six minute lead which he stretched to over ten by the finish. John Cale placed second with a time of 2:33:14 and Howard Nippert placed third with a time of 2:38:52.

Tom Pearcy passes the running duties to Sarah Sears in the relay competition
This year the women were on top of things as well. All three top women finished with a time under Doris Windsand-Dausman's previous women's record of 3:09:42. Linda Grossman (3:03:25) placed first, Susan Redmond (3:06:11) placed second, and Mariann Foster (3:07:38) placed third. Their impressive finishes were good enough for 12th, 14th and 15th overall, respectively.

For those runners interested in participating in a marathon, but don't want to run the whole thing I suggest running the relay. Relay teams consist of three team members and have divisions of male, female, and mixed. All team members run the same course, which breaks down to approximately 8.73 miles each. This works out really well since one member runs while the other two members cheer him/her on. It's always nice to have a cheering section, don't you think?

An awards banquet followed directly after the marathon and shower facilities were available.