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Saturday, February 24, 2001 -- Winchester, VA
SVR Predicted Time 3.2 Miler
Story by Neal Riemenschneider with photos by Beth Herr

[Details] [Coverage] [Overall Results] [Results by Class]
[Pic Set 1] [Pic Set 2] [Pic Set 3]

Be sure to check out the cool race results and more posted on the SVR web site.

Take off that watch or I'll pelt you with this snowball!

That was the command by race director Karsten Brown for the Shenandoah Valley Runners (SVR) Predicted Time 5K Run. Held at Frederick County Middle School, participants were asked to write down what they thought they would run the course in as they registered. Watches were not allowed and no splits were given at the mile markers.

The course was 2 different loops with long nasty hills just before the 1-mile mark and with .5 to go. Race day dawned cloudy and fairly nice for a late February day. As the 9:30 AM start time approached, Brown asked all runners lined up for the start to roll up their sleeves to make sure no one was trying to hide a watch. I tell ya, if he had started to look elsewhere, I would have smacked him. Then again, if he had tried to look elsewhere on my wife Ruth, she probably would have obliged him. You have to understand that Karsten is 20 years younger than Ruth... but I digress.

Race Pic
To sprint, or not to sprint, to the finish
Veteran runner Mark Stickley was the pre-race favorite and won with ease. As a matter of fact, he could have simply thrown his flats out on the course at the start and everyone would have conceded him the "W". "I ran the first mile probably a little too fast, " explained the Mechanical Engineer for Ashworth Brothers. "It was a tough course and that downhill start helped me to get ahead early and I just tried to run hard throughout." The 39-year-old Stickley's winning time of 16:10 saw him finish 1:10 ahead of Clarke County Senior and star runner Dustin Sweeney (17:20). Sweeney hopes to attend VA Tech in the fall. Go Hookies!

In the women's race, a plethora of ladies went out fast and hard in the early going. By 1/2 a mile, Caitlin Riley and Christina Moore had taken the lead and looked to be in contention for the win. But 43 year old Ruth Riemenschneider once again ran her own race and moved up from 4th at 1/2 mile to within striking distance at 1.5 miles.

Race Pic
Sheesh, seems like I've been out here forever...
Riemenschneider passed Moore shortly after the 1-mile mark and caught Riley around the halfway point and was now determined to take the victory. "I find that if I run my own race I can usually catch runners as the race goes on. Once I took the lead I was determined to not let down and pushed it all the way to the finish." Riemenschneider, a second grade teacher ("I love snow days"), took the women's race finishing in 20:53 while Riley hung on for second in 21:01.

Of the 65 finishers in the race, Dustin Sweeney was the only one to correctly predict his finish time. Terry Leckie was off by 1 second while Mark Vann was off by 2. Race director Brown had a slew of prizes including a very nice wall clock with the SVR club logo on it. Alas, Ruth came home with a children's book entitled, "Everybody Poops." Don't even ask...

Race director: Karsten Brown
Volunteers: Leesa Anderson, Kyra Brown, Kim Yeck, Jerry Anderson, Rick Kerby, Loren Little, Betty Luttrell, Megan & Eric Williams
Special thanks to: Kim & Kennon Yeck (runner clocks, cakes, watches); Peter Blank & Mark Belanger (t-shirts); McDonald's of Winchester (coupons for free McSalad Shakers); Chelsea Bagel of Winchester (bagels); Dunkin Donuts of Stephens City (donuts & bagels); Vice-Principal Maphis and Frederick County Middle School (race site)