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Sunday, February 4, 2001 -- Lynchburg, VA
V.E.S Arctic 10K
Story by Steve Crowder with photos by Leslie Crowder

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

Race Start
The start of a very un-arctic Arctic 10K
When runners answered the gun Sunday for the annual running of the Virginia Episcopal School (VES) Arctic 10K in Lynchburg, Virginia, conditions were anything but arctic. Instead, the field was greeted with sunshine and temperatures in the upper 40's. With the weather cooperating, the big challenge was the out and back course, which featured a few steep hills and several gradual inclines while winding its way through the scenic city of Lynchburg. Lynchburg is often referred to as the Hill City, and after the race, runners could confirm the reason why.

Three time defending champion James Johnson wasn't back to defend his title, which put Danny Fink, of Swoope, Virginia, a former runner-up at the race, and Steve Crowder of Fincastle, Virginia, in the role of favorites. Crowder and Fink moved to the front shortly after the gun sounded, and the race was on.

As they hit the first big hill about a half-mile into the race, Crowder began to open up a gap and took a lead that he would not relinquish. After a fast first half that included a good bit of gradual downhill running, Crowder tired in the second half of the race, but was able to hold on for the win in a course record 31:38. Fink remained solid throughout, finishing second in 32:24, 23 seconds faster than he had run in 1999. Finishing third was Vince Decker of Nathalie, VA. Decker turned in a time of 36:42.

Sprinting for the finish at V.E.S.
On the women's side, Shannon and Kristen Saunders made the race a family affair taking the top two spots overall. Shannon and Kristen are both local high school track and cross-country standouts and put in some solid performances. Shannon crossed the line first in 39:01, repeating as champion and taking just over a minute off her time from last year. Kristen wasn't far behind, finishing in 41:25. Taking the third spot for the women was Nancy Ferris, a familiar top finisher in local races. Ferris completed the course in 42:12.

After the race, everyone gathered for some refreshments and an awards ceremony, and more than one person was seen basking in the sun enjoying the satisfaction of a race well done. Proceeds of the race went to benefit the VES cross country and track and field programs. Thanks to race director Reed Finlay and the Lynchburg Roadrunners for a race well done. Be sure to check this event out next year as the race approaches its 30th year.