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Saturday, July 10, 1999 -- Parkersburg
Women's Distance Festival 5K Run/Walk
Story and photos by Julie Bertsch

[Coverage/Recap w/Pics] [Results] [Pictures:] [Set 1] [Set 2] [Set 3]

Running Hard!
Jessica Taylor goes for the 1990 course record
On the day that 90,185 fans watched the U.S. Women's soccer team capture the World Cup and make history, the women racing in Parkersburg were trying to make some history of their own. Especially Jessica Taylor, who came to City Park ready to break the 1990 course record held by Lorrie Taylor. Mother Nature produced a heavy downpour early on, but the rain let up, and was a refreshing relief from the hot and humid days of July. Mothers, daughters, and even some grandmothers, came out to run or walk in the women's only 5K race. Tom Kramer lead the way behind the Parkersburg Police on his bike to avoid any confusion about the course. Eighty three women showed up to brave the weather and conquer the 5K.

Kicking it in
Monica Pence makes her move
A pack of seven young women lead a very fast paced first mile onto the slight incline of Washington Avenue, but it was Jessica Taylor who was starting to pull ahead. In the second mile Taylor started to pick up more speed as she completed the loop and headed back down Washington into the park. "I was hoping to get out a little faster," said Sarah Walker, "I tried to catch Jessica, but she was going for the record. I thought I'd be closer to her." By the last mile, no one was close to Taylor as she tore up the pavement heading for the finish line, but her time of 19:08 would unfortunately fall short of the 18:47 record by a minute plus. Jennifer Jageman (19:33) and Sarah Walker (19:38) were team mates on the Wesleyan Cross Country and Track teams. Jageman felt no pressure from Walker in the last mile as she took 2nd Place Overall.

1st Place Walker
Jeanne Dorton race-walks her way to a smooth finish
Kimberly Dorman steadily held her 5th place position until the last 50 yards before the finish line when Monica Pence kicked it in, and beat her right at the line in full sprint for an exciting crowd pleasing finish. "I was trying to catch her the last mile and I finally did," said Pence, "This is only my third 5K!"

Jeanne Dorton (30:35) who has race/walked in a marathon every month all over the country, finished as the 1st Overall Walker. Last year, Dorton was ranked 6th nationally in the USATF 40K Track & Field event in New Jersey. "She's my training partner," said John Mike Nichols, "She's pretty amazing." Dorton's daughter Daisy was also in the 5K, competing must run in the family. A very enthusiastic and always pleasant Race Director, Norma Phillips, and "on the ball" Joe Corra really put on a wonderful race. This course was well marked and the shirts were really well done, not to mention the colorful trophies and helpful volunteers. It was an great day for women's sports and the Women's Distance Festival.