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Saturday, October 7, 2000 -- Cumberland, MD
Great Allegany Run 15/5K
Story and photos by Don Parks

[Details] [Coverage]
Results: [15K O/A] [5K O/A] [15K By Class] [5K By Class]
Pictures: [Set 1] [Set 2] [Set 3] [Set 4] [Set 5]
[Set 6] [Set 7] [Set 8] [Set 9] [Set 10]

Kids Race
Everyone came to race on a great day in Cumberland

Crisp and cool autumn air met a host of runners for another great day of racing at the annual Great Allegany Run. While the weather may have been a little cold for early October, the mix of sunshine and clouds made an excellent backdrop for the fall foliage in the surrounding mountains.

The point-to-point 15K race started on Savage Mountain and ran east, with an elevation loss of over 500 feet, finishing in historic downtown Cumberland. A 5K race was also run at the same time as the 15K with an out-and-back course that started and finished downtown. Just so that no one was left out of all the fun, a 2-mile fitness walk and a kid's run were offered, as well.

With the starting signal given at 8:00am, Danny Fink was quick to set a furious pace as they began the charge off Savage Mountain. Leading the first mile, Fink wasn't going to shake a strong field as a group of a half-dozen runners formed a lead pack through the first 5K.

Eric Shafer
Eric Shafer chases the leaders into town
In the third mile, the lead group was trimmed down to the threesome of Colin Young, Aaron Moody and Eric Shafer. During the second 5K they continually pushed one another with no one able to gain an advantage until Young took control on the sixth mile. "Colin made a good move," said Moody, his Elizabethtown, PA, running partner.

The final 5K had the leaders holding their positions as Young finished with a winning time of 45:36 followed by Moody with a time of 46:09. Both averaged better than 5-minute miles and thanked Henry Kluge and The Inside Track for inspiration. Grabbing third overall honors was Pittsburgh's Shafer (46:57) while Fink (48:42) held on for fourth.

The women's field also included some exciting racing as Frostburg's Stacey Gaynor set the pace for the first mile before being caught by Harrisonburg, Virginia's Laura Nelson. Nelson, who last ran the Great Allegany in 1995, just returned to the east coast after spending several years living in Oregon. "I new I was in the lead, but I didn't want to look back," said Nelson on her way to taking the women's overall title in 2000 with a time of 56:36.

Scenic downtown Cumberland makes for a great finish
Also off to a strong start was Winchester Virginia's Ruth Riemenschnieder who was running with Gaynor early in the chase for Nelson. Eventually Gaynor pulled away and kept Nelson in sight for most of the race finishing a strong second in 56:36.

Riemenschnieder's bid for third place overall was topped when the patient running Doris Windsand-Daus passed her in the sixth mile. Windsand-Daus finished with a time of 58:13 followed by Riemenschnieder (59:55) who held on for fourth overall.

The 5K race, which actually finished well before the 15K runners headed back into town, included more close racing. The first 2.5 miles had 35-year-old Dennis Mickey battling back and forth with 18-year-old Zach Bittinger. In the final half-mile, Mickey was able to pull away from Bittinger to grab the overall win with a time of 16:14. Bittinger finished second with a time of 16:25 followed by his younger brother Sid Bittinger (17:04) who took third.

The Cumberland Posse
Friends that race together,
stay togehter
The women's race was a wire-to-wire win for Cumberland's own Paula Bridges (21:27) as she put a minute gap on her closest competitor. Second place went to Cheryl Conlin (22:27) followed by Ann Rose (22:40) in third.

The final event of the morning before the awards was the kid's race, The Little Allegany Run. With medals and treats for all the competitors, every one of these little racers went away a champion. The big kids all got their due rewards as well, with generous prizes and plenty of refreshments, hot and cold.