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Saturday, June 19, 1999 -- Bridgeport
Burger King WVIHF 5K
Story by Don Parks

[Coverage/Recap w/Pics] [Overall Results] [Results by Class]

Photos were taken professionally by Sam Santilli Photography and are available for purchase. For more information contact them at or (304) 457-4217.

Bradley Pyle (and his shadow) own the road in Bridgeport
Early Saturday morning, in Bridgeport, a tremendous crowd had gathered in the parking lots around Burger King and the neighboring Eastpoint Plaza. No, it wasn't the latest delivery of "Beanie Babys" or ticket lines for another "Star Wars" movie. This crowd wasn't here to stand around, they were getting ready to start the West Virginia Italian Heritage Festival with a nice, fast, 5K (3.1 mile) run. The course they were to follow started by sending them out for a mile with a small hill or two. Then it was back along the same route for another mile, before continuing downhill for the final mile and the finish at Burger King. The beauty of the course was that, for this morning, all traffic was stopped and the pedestrians owned the wide open road.

Just another day at the races for the Taylors
The racing got started at 8:30am with the father and daughter tandem of Larry and Jessica Taylor immediately setting to work on the field of well over 200 runners. The elder Taylor dashed to the front but was matched by the strides of John Reynolds early in the race. After about a mile of running together Taylor was able to start building a gap. He slowly stretched the lead to finish first overall in 16:21, with Reynolds (16:39) easily holding on for second. In an even more impressive display, Jessica was able to bring home another title for the family as she cruised through the women's field. She captured first in a time of 19:00, placing 22nd overall.

Six-year-old Kelsey Fogg strides toward the finish
There were some closer battles as many more were racing for top spots. Racing for third overall among the men were Kenny Beerbower (17:00) Zak Anderson (17:01) and Stephen Hiser (17:02), who all ran together for much of the race. Beerbower was able to build a small lead near the finish to take third, with Anderson and Hiser battling to the wire for fourth and fifth, respectively. The race for second among the women was won by Stephanie Meleady (20:07) with Julie Dyer (20:28) capturing third.

As more and more winners came across the finish (like 10th place Joey Herron), they were all treated to a plentiful supply of food and drinks. With awards for many, and a nice feeling of pride for most, they all slowly left in their cars. As they rolled out of their parking spaces, you had to start missing that short morning moment when the pedestrians owned the road.