Share |

Saturday, October 2, 1999 -- Kingwood
Preston County Buckwheat Run & Walk
Story & photos by Don Parks

[Coverage]   Pics: [Set 1] [Set 2] [Set 3]   Results: [Overall] [By Class]

Starting Line
A chilly morning fog awaits runners at Preston CC
As the morning sun warmed the streets of Kingwood the annual Buckwheat Festival started to come to life with all Saturday's activities. For many in attendance the day starts with a big breakfast of buckwheat cakes and sausage. For others, Saturday's fun begins with the Buckwheat Festival 5K run centered around the Preston Country Club. Being situated in the Cheat River valley just east of town, the 8:30am start had the sun still struggling to burn off a chilly morning fog.

Once the running began it didn't take long for the competition to heat up. It was no surprise to see Kenny Beerbower jumping out to the front early and taking his lead clear to the finish. Beerbower raced through the "slightly" rolling hills, on both paved and gravel surfaces, to finish in a winning time of 16:50.

Derek Clark leads the battle for second
Fighting for second most of the race were Derek Clark and Aaron Miller. Joining in the fray late in the race was Joey Herron who, after pacing himself through the first miles, caught Miller and Clark as they began the final tenth of a mile downhill to the finish. Herron, dedicating the race to his father who is battling cancer, overtook Miller (17:58) and in a sprint finish crossed the line just behind second place Clark (17:51) to take third overall in 17:52.

In some more close racing, a group of four young ladies led the women's field in a tight pack for the first half of the course. Around this point Heather McDaniel began to pull away as Gina Spino fought to keep up the pace while putting a gap on Kavara Vaughn and Jennifer Shogren. McDaniel's didn't relinquish her lead as she went on to finish first in a time of 20:42. In a late race attempt to close on the leaders and second place Spino (20:58), Vaughn (21:08) came up just a little short. Commenting on her strategy she surmised, "I had a big kick at the finish, but I guess [McDaniel and Spino] did, too." Her strong finish did give her the third overall time ahead of the fourth place Shogren (21:22).

MacKenzie Brown
Mackenzie Brown gets set for the downhill finish
Many more 5K racers made their way through the cool autumn air along with a nice crowd of 2 mile walkers. If getting out on a beautiful morning in the pleasant surroundings of Preston Country Club wasn't enough, everyone could be proud that they had done their part to support the local Hospice Care Corporation.

Special thanks also go out to all the hard work of race directors Tom Dolan and Natalie Jennings, the helpful assistance from the many race volunteers, and the generous sponsorship from Peak Communications. Come out and join everyone again in 2000 and be sure to take in the show at the Buckwheat Festival after the race. Don't forget to indulge in some of those famous buckwheat cakes and sausage, a perfect meal for after a quick 3+ mile run.