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Saturday, August 14, 1999 -- Richwood
Cherry River Festival 10K Run & 5K Walk
Story and photos by Don Parks

[Coverage/Recap] [Pic Set 1] [Pic Set 2] [Results]

Richwood, WV, the "Gateway to the Monongahela National Forest"
Nestled on the southwestern edge of the Monongahela National Forest, along the the Cherry River, is the small town of Richwood. Every year the town celebrates their coal mining heritage with the Cherry River Festival: "Honoring the Coal Miners of West Virginia". As many small towns across West Virginia struggle with the passing of coal's heyday, this enthusiastic town refuses to give up the fight for prosperity.

The annual Cherry River Festival is just one sign that the local folks are still full of spirit. From August 5th through 14th the town is alive and well with events including a fishing contest, outdoor concerts, pageants, a pet show, fireworks, a dance, a car and truck show, and more. WVOutside caught up with all the fun on the morning of August 14th for the 10K Run & 5K Walk events.

Unleashed on the streets of Richwood
Starting in the center of town on Rt. 39/55, the race course took the runners and walkers through neighborhood streets and then back to Rt. 39/55. From there it was a long slow climb up into the forest before being turned around to dash back into town.

The morning's weather brought mild temperatures with high humidity and cloudy skies. The previous night's rain had left the streets still damp and a morning fog was still burning off in many areas. With dozens of participants ready to go, they headed out into the streets just after 9:00 A.M.

Joshua Brown on his way back down the mountain
The 10K run was dominated by Larry Taylor who quickly established himself at the front and steadily built a huge lead on the rest of the field. Completing the 6-plus mile course in 33:52, the 37-year-old Taylor managed to push himself to his best 10K time in recent years.

Taking second place honors was Aaron Kaylor who complete the run in 38:00. Third overall, and the first overall female, was Jessica Taylor (40:15) who paced herself through some early competition and held off a chasing Jason Underwood (40:21) at the finish.

The 5K walking crowd watched as the young Dustin Lundy motored to the finish in 37:45 with Charles Young (37:46) finishing on his heels. Robert Craft kept it close through much of the race to finish third at 38:09. Fourth overall, and the first female, was Gail Diaz who completed the course in 40:04.

These shoes were made for walkin'
Plenty more runners and walkers managed their way to the finish where they were greeted by a cheerful crowd. Plenty of drinks and snacks where available as the awards were distributed. But, you didn't need a trophy to realize that this group was full of winners. With smiles in abundance from start to finish, it makes it hard to imagine anything less than a bright future for Richwood and it's friendly residents.

A special thanks goes out for the hard work of Cheryl Spencer, Bill Glasscock, Sharon Dyer, and all the local volunteers who made it possible. Also pitching in as a generous race sponsor, a big kudos to Adkins Automotive of Craigsville, Nettie and Richwood.