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Sunday, September 19, 1999 -- Elkins
Kenneth Cunningham 5K Memorial
Story and photos by Don Parks

[Coverage/Recap] [Pictures] [Overall Results] [Results by Class]

Alex & Kevin
Alex Zurbuch & Kevin Lynch in the heat of battle
Perfect late September afternoon weather greeted a host of cross country runners at the first Kenneth Cunningham 5K Memorial. With sunny skies and temperatures in the 70s, the Davis & Elkins athletic fields and surrounding woods were an ideal setting to remember the late Ken Cunningham with some great off-road racing.

The unique format of the race, an individual team competition, added an interesting twist to the usual open racing format. After the race registration closed, men's and women's teams of five to six racers were randomly picked from a box. Each team then met together to introduce one another and to select an appropriate team name. Now everyone was racing not only for individual awards, but for their newly formed teams.

Ryan Dickson
Ryan Dickson takes home the hardware
When the racing got underway, the initial loop around the ball fields spread the runners out for almost a mile before going into the woods. Jumping out to the front was Ryan Dickson with Sid Gillispie pacing himself not far behind. Once in the woods it was time for some hill climbs that eventually led to several stream crossings before returning to the open fields for the final 3/4 mile stretch to the finish.

The hilly section of the course saw Dickson lose his lead position to Gillispie. Dickson commented after the race, "[Gillispie] killed me on the hills." Well, it seems that when they returned to the final section of flat, open fields, Dickson came back to life. He managed to regain the lead from Gillispie and went on to post a ten second win with a time of 20:09. Even though the two leaders took a wrong turn near the finish and added some extra distance, Gillispie easily held on for second in a time of 20:19. Grabbing the third overall spot was Matt Lewis who finished at 20:54.

The Katies (Cunningham & Burda) know the joys of cross country running
The top female on the day was Rebecca Falbo-Schoonover who finished tenth overall with a time of 23:03. Taking second among the women was 13-year-old Chelsey Metheny (25:01) with Lauren Dickson (25:32) following for third.

When all the racing was complete and the scores were totaled, the male winning team was the "Diners" with 51 points. The female victory went to the "Bucking Broncos" with 39 points. But all those who participated on this fine afternoon formed one big team of winners. They all enjoyed a well run event with plenty of refreshments, prizes and awards while keeping the memory of Ken Cunningham alive on the cross country trails of Elkins. We hope you can join everyone when they're forming up more winning teams at the beginning of next year's event.