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Saturday, May 12, 2001 -- Winchester, VA
TAC 5K Run for the Kids (iPO Event Id#: 3161)
Story by Neal Riemenschneider with photos by Shea Riemenschneider

[Details] [Coverage]
[Overall Results]
Pictures: [Set 1] [Set 2] [Set 3] [Set 4] [Set 5] [Set 6]

Battle Royale
The big boys get out to play at the Run for the Kids
With small planes landing and taking off overhead, the 7th Annual TAC 5K Run/Walk for the Kids and Children's Fun Runs were held under sunny skies and warm temperatures. The event is put on by the Employees Activities Association of the U.S. Army Engineer Transatlantic Programs Center (TAC) in Winchester. Every year, the race donates its proceeds to a different local charity.

This year, proceeds were to be given to a local child in the Children's Hopes and Dreams Foundation. Race officials were saddened to learn three weeks prior to the event that Michael Reynolds, a first grader at John Kerr Elementary School in Winchester and the proposed beneficiary of the race, had passed away. Michael was a bright-eyed, happy young boy who suffered from leukemia. Race officials stated that the race proceeds would still be given to the named charity and used toward a local needy child along with a donation to the Jennifer Fund at the Pediatric Hematology Oncology Children's Clinic at UAV Hospital.

Our for a stroll
Racing for, and with, the kids
As for the race itself, it was college kids home from school taking the top honors. Ah, college life. A time for staying up late, sleeping late, living on your own, having a good time with friends, partying, dirty clothes on the floor, moldy food in the frig and oh yes, studying! Then, when school is out, it's home to Mom and Dad and those silly rules. I can still remember my Dad waking me up at noon asking me if I was going to get up today. But at least you can get your clothes washed for free and can raid the frig!

Brad Sponaugle, a 21-year-old rising senior at Wheeling Jesuit University in Wheeling, WV was the pre-race favorite. "I just completed my track season where I specialized in the 400 and 800 meters so I am not sure about my leg speed for this long of an event." Sponaugle took the lead from the gun and opened up a sizeable lead on the field.

Kid's Race
The kids get into the racing spirit
"I felt awkward running by myself. I wished there had been someone to run with me," said the Martinsburg, WV resident. "When that runner [Mark Vann] caught me with a 1/2 mile to go it got me pumped up and I was able to pass him back and stretch it out to the finish line." The accounting major took the win in 17:53 while Vann was second in 17:56. The top master was some old and slow guy named Neal Riemenschneider in a pedestrian time of 18:47.

Another college student, 20 year old Robyn Ritter of nearby Stephens City ran solo to the women's victory. Taking the lead at the gun, Ritter, a rising junior at Coastal Carolina University won the race in 19:01 and finished a remarkable 5th overall. "I got off work late last night at 1:30 AM so I didn't know how I would feel today," said Ritter, who is a waitress at the New Town Tavern. "I have just finished my track season where I ran 5K and 10K on the track so this was a nice break." A biology major, Ritter plans to eventually get her doctorate in Physical Therapy. Finishing a distant second was Carol Gill in 20:04 who is the girlfriend of the men's winner. Top master was 51 year old retired government worker Sandy Adams in 21:02.

Tongue Technique
Concentration and a big smile, the fun of racing
There were 102 finishers in the run/walk along with about 60 tykes in the four fun runs. The fun runs were of varying distance and were held on the tarmac at the airport. Race Director Annie Cain, a U.S. Army Engineer with the TAC was very pleased with the turnout and the support of all the runners and walkers. "Thanks to our generous corporate sponsorship we will be giving over $6,000 to the 2 charities. We had a great turn out and it was great to see all the kids having a fun activity to participate in."

Thanks also to the following organizations for their support: Winchester Regional Airport for allowing us to use their facility, Berkeley County WV Jr. ROTC for the color guard at the start, Boy Scout Troop # 21 for help with parking and course control, the Frederick Co. Sheriff's Department, the Millwood Fire and Rescue for providing an ambulance today and the able assistance in all aspects of the race by the Shenandoah Valley Runners. A special thanks is also extended to U.S. Army Engineer Crawford Horne for providing results.