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Saturday, July 17, 1999 -- Bridgeport
Benedum Festival/Hardee's 5K Run
Story & photos by Julie Bertsch

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

1st Overall Finisher
Kenny Beerbower paces himself for a strong finish
There was a large turn-out of all ages at Bridgeport High for the Hardee's 5K Run that kicked off the Benedum Festival, a local community favorite event. The race route started at the high school and continued through the rolling hills of the residential streets of Bridgeport, ending with a slight downhill finish. One hundred and sixty runners came out to strut their stuff in the mid-July heat, even S. Mark Courtney from Runner's High ran the 5K.

"It was crazy the first mile." said Kenny Beerbower, "There were so many people." A "herd" of people in fact, stuck together throughout the first mile, and many of them were top runners from other races and track meets across the state of West Virginia. It was anybody's guess who would come out in front in the end, as the pack gradually thinned at the end of the second mile.

Jared Smith
Jared Smith digs it round the corner to the finish
"Four or five of us hung together until we hit two miles." explained Beerbower. The race was tight, runners were neck and neck from the beginning. "We stayed together the first two miles," said Jared Smith, "the course was really rolling, up and down, up and down. At the last incline, on the last straight away, everybody broke away." And broke away they did, as the spectators eagerly awaited the first runner, the flashing lights of a cop car were in sight and so were the bright yellow shoes of Kenny Beerbower. Leading the pack by five seconds or more, Beerbower finished First Place Overall with a time of 17:17. When asked about his racing strategy Beerbower said, "The last mile I just picked things up like I normally do." Easier said than done for many of the other finishers.

1st Overall Woman
Karin Lockhart has steady strides right to the end
Joe Dean (17:22) finished strong, Second Place Overall in fact, but even top racers like Dean can feel the effects of humidity. "This course was a little challenging." Dean explained, "The heat and humidity were a factor. I train in the stuff all the time, but when you have to run a race in it, it's a different story." Another five seconds behind Dean was Micheal Brosenne (17:27), who finished Third Overall, respectively. "I think like, seven people broke the course record today." Jared Smith enthusiastically said. No doubt, because of the high turn-out and group of top competitive runners who pushed each other to complete the first two miles at a fast pace. All in all, the men's race was fairly close, but the top finishers held their leads and kept their strides from the two mile mark until the very end. The last mile made all the difference.

Don't look back!!!
Lots of runners kicked it in just before the finish line
The women's race for first was a little closer than the mens, but not by much. Karin Lockhart (21:06) kept up a great pace averaging 6:48 miles, and finished four seconds ahead of Heather McDaniel (21:10). McDaniel kept her lead to capture the Women's Second Place Overall prize, three seconds ahead of Susan Verona who finished with a time of 21:13 for the Women's Third Overall.

Despite the heat, many people were finishing the race with sprints to the finish line, trying to pass anyone who was in front of them. Lots of refreshments for all, from orange slices to sticky buns were there for consumption, and the results were done and posted, fast as always by Runner's High. A challenging course that was well marked, lots of entrants, and the Bridgeport Police traffic escorts made this race a success. We can't wait to come back next year!