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Saturday, May 6, 2000 -- Kanawha City, WV
Emmanuel Baptist Church 5K
Story and photos by Jennifer Cavender

[Details] [Coverage] [Pic Set 1] [Pic Set 2]

Emmanuel Baptist Church 5K
Starting the race in the sun
The sun dangles above the tangerine horizon while the silvery mist retreats. A solitary runner watches. The pounding of his feet on the pavement compose the beat of this dance. He, alone, watches the sunrise.

Most runners will agree that running can be spiritual. While the miles stretch ahead and the endorphins kick in, runners focus inward. Sometimes they think, contemplating the meaning of life, the meaning of their lives, trivial things and nature. Running becomes a ritual that when broken because of injury or time constraints, takes a toll on the mental as well as the physical side.

Emmanuel Baptist Church 5K
Running through the neighborhoods of Kanawha City
The Emmanuel Baptist Church taps into this spirituality once a year when they host the Emmanuel Baptist Church 5K in Kanawha City. Early Saturday morning on May 6th, runners lined up for the small, informal start. They took off. A small incline leveled off to an extremely flat run. The race progressed down Venable Avenue, to the halfway point at 53rd Street where they then headed back down Washington Street. The race starts and ends at the Kanawha City Community Center.

Larry Taylor won the event with a time of 16:07, and a whopping one minute lead over Glen Baldwin who finished second with a time of 17:07. Bill Chandler came in third (17:34).

Emmanuel Baptist Church 5K
Glen Baldwin flies to the finish
Baldwin had hopes of placing first this year, but this Saturday he was fighting a cold and allergies. We'll give him the benefit of the doubt since he placed 116th out of 18,000 in the Boston Marathon this year with a time of 2:38:33. He was the first West Virginian to finish.

Still, Baldwin heralded the 5K. "It was a really good race. Flat and fast," he said. Unfortunately, Taylor was unavailable to comment. After the race, he had to run (drive) to catch his daughter Jessica's track meet. Winning must run in the family since both runners won the Charleston Distance Run last year for male and female.

Emmanuel Baptist Church 5K
A very nice day for a 5K
For the women, Kelly McGraw left the competition in the dust with her winning time of 19:16. Marlene Moore placed second with a time of 22:53, and third was Ashley King (no time recorded).

The fairly new 5K started seven years ago, and seems to have loyal followers. "I've ran it every year," said Harry Bruner who placed sixth overall, first in his age category, with a time of 19:07. "It's a great race, a great morning. Running is a sport with integrity." Participants will be assured to learn that the race isn't going anywhere. The run is part of a physical fitness day, that ironically lasts all week. For a mere $12, runners receive a T-shirt, spaghetti dinner, entry in the race, and entry in other events such as Competitive Co-ed Volleyball, Fun Co-ed Volleyball, Doubles Bowling, a 5K walk, and horseshoes.

"We do it to bring people into the church, and for people to come out and have a good time," said David Abraham, runner and member. Kudos to the Emmanuel Baptist Church for recognizing that running can be a part of spirituality.