Share |

Saturday, June 5, 1999 -- Philippi
1st Annual Blue & Gray 5K Run
Story and photos by Don Parks

[Coverage] [Pic Set 1] [Pic Set 2] [Pic Set 3] [Pic Set 4]
[Overall Results] [Results by Class]

Covered Bridge
"The Philippi Races" return to the Philippi Covered Bridge
On Saturday morning, June 6th, the streets of Philippi were alive with anxious competitors ready to take part in a unique Civil War reenactment. Unlike the Blue & Gray Reunion participants, they were not dressed in full Civil War era attire and weren't reliving the customs of the day. This group of well over 200 were dressed in running attire. They had come to be chased for over 3 miles through the city until crossing the historic Philippi Covered Bridge in route to the finish line. It seems the Battle of Philippi, the first land battle of the Civil War, culminated in the hasty retreat of the Confederate troops across the covered bridge. The victors dubbed the June 3rd, 1861, event as "The Philippi Races".

Abe looks on as Joyce Nestor completes the bridge crossing
With a full festival atmosphere, the racing (or retreating) got underway at 9:00am for the 1st Annual Blue & Gray 5K. The course followed a relatively flat route with one hill just before the Covered Bridge and the final stretch to the finish.

When the starting signal was given, it was Michael Guinn immediately sprinting out in front. Once Guinn settled down, Dave McCollam quickly joined him as the two took control at the front of the race. The two ran together for most of the race until McCollam started to pull away just before the bridge. He crossed the finish line after just 15:45 to take first overall with Guinn arriving at 16:14 to take second. Michael Brosenne (18:18) crossed the line third after running in that position for most of the race.

No Excuses
Susie Philipps knows the joys of West Virginia... outside!
In the battle for the best women's time, Rebecca Schoonover chased down and passed Mandy Helms just over a mile into the race. Schoonover continued to push the pace and built a comfortable lead to take the win in 19:58. Helms easily held on to second in a time of 21:13. When asked about her second place finish to Schoonover, Helms simply replied, "That girl is fast!"

The battle for third among the women was hard fought between Jenn Robertson and Stephanie Hatfield. With Robertson on the chase for most of the entire race, she was finally able to catch Hatfield on the covered bridge. Robertson proved to have a little more saved for the finish as she out-kicked her rival to take third in 22:07 to Hatfield's 22:15.

Many, many more athletes, families, and friends enjoyed the warm morning run and were treated to plenty of great refreshments at the finish. You won't want to miss the 2nd Annual Blue & Gray 5K because it is sure to be an even bigger and better celebration next year.