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Saturday, August 26, 2000 -- Elkins, WV
Kenneth Cunningham 5K Memorial Cross-Country Run
Story and photos by Mike McCagh

[Details] [Coverage] [Overall Results] [Award Winners]
[Pic Set 1] [Pic Set 2] [Pic Set 3] [Pic Set 4]
[1999 Coverage]

Kenneth Cunningham 5K Memorial
The brutal creek crossing

When 144 runner's showed up at Davis & Elkins College for The 2nd Kenneth Cunningham Memorial 5K run Saturday, Todd Price and Wendy Cunningham couldn't have been happier.

The unexpected surge of contestants registered up until ten minutes before race time. Many were high school athletes eager to get a first hand -- no, "foot" -- opportunity to run the course that will be this year's High School State Class A-AA & AAA meet.

"It's just great to see this many people out here," said Race Director Todd Price.

The morning began with a Children's Race around the athletic field. As the upcoming generation of racers approached the finish line, the crowd cheered and set an air of intensity over the race field. Meanwhile, the 5K runners stretched and ran and loosened up for their event.

Kenneth Cunningham 5K Memorial
Sticking tight with the pack
Ten minutes later, after one false start to "clear the butterflies" as Race Director Todd Price put it, the runners were off, running as hard and focused as if the State meet was actually today and not one month away.

The trail lead through the upper woodland paths of the college, up hills, across streams, and back down to the athletic fields. They ran with wet shoes, heavy with water. The stream banks quickly grew slippery, taking an occasional runner to the ground only to pop back up and run faster for the finish line.

Kenneth Cunningham 5K Memorial
Running by the red caboose
Some like Joshua Davis, were commended, awarded, and applauded after the race. Davis was handed an award and dubbed the "Overall Muddiest," much to the delight of the audience.

After the race, orange slices were sucked down by the hungry racers and the award ceremony glowed of Vitamin C. Women With Attitudes took the team prize for the Women, along with The Gideons, who captured first in the Men's division.

The individual winners, overall, included Mike Taylor (18:53), Stephen Hiser (19:14) and Justin Rogers (19:43). The womens field was led to the finish by Sherri Flohr (22:02), Heather McDaniel (22:24) and Ashley Varian (23:18).

Kenneth Cunningham 5K Memorial
Stretching it out to the finish
After the ceremony, many runners and their families lounged in the Saturday afternoon sunlight. Sid Gillispie, assistant running coach at Davis and Elkins College, and his "Fat Beaver" teammates discussed team strategy for the upcoming Charlestown race and everyone had a good time. The event officially ended when Wendy Cunningham thanked everyone for being a part of something special in honor of her husband, Kenneth, and invited everyone back next year.

Good luck to all the participants in the upcoming State High School meet!