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Monday, May 28, 2001 -- Rocky Mount, VA
Heritage Classic Race (iPO Event Id#: 3435)
Story by Steve Crowder with photos by Leslie Crowder

[Details] [Coverage] [Pic Set 1] [Pic Set 2] [Pic Set 3]
Stay tuned for complete race results

Race Pic
Come on, I'll race you to the finish!
After two straight weeks in which at least some rain had fallen on the area every day, no one was surprised when soggy conditions greeted the participants of the annual Heritage Classic 5k in Rocky Mount, Virginia, this past Memorial Day morning. The rain didn't discourage participation, however, as a good crowd of runners and walkers came out to tackle the challenging course.

Starting and finishing on the Christian Heritage Academy track, the course features a long, steep hill in the first mile that will wear down even the fittest of runners. Mercifully, however, runners get to come down the hill on the return trip, rewarding them for their hard effort on the way out.

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Hey, this running in the rain is kind of fun...
Steve Crowder, who had won the race and set the course record of 15:57 in 1998, returned to the race hoping to lower his own course record. He attacked the course from the start, quickly separating himself from the field. By the end of the first mile, Crowder was clear of the competition, but slightly behind record pace. A solid second mile, however, put Crowder back in reach of the record, and he cruised to the line in 15:42 to grab both the win and the record.

H.T. Page, a consistent frontrunner at the race, ran steady throughout to take runner up honors in 17:13. It was the fourth straight year in which Page has finished either first or second in the race. Taking third was Kevin Bowman, who completed the course in 18:35. Bowman entered the final quarter of a mile neck and neck with fourth place finisher Mark Lewis before displaying a devastating kick to beat Lewis to the line.

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Together we'll make it to the finish
On the women's side, Pam Rickard, who has won the race multiple times, pulled away from the competition early and never looked back, taking the win in 20:25. Shannon Baker, who has been near the front in several races this spring, collected another top three finish by taking second with a time of 21:26. Abigail Baumann rounded out the top three, completing the course in 24:40.

After the race, a group of soggy participants gathered for an awards ceremony, and while it wasn't a relaxing day at the beach or a picnic at the lake, those who were present wouldn't have spent their Memorial Day any other way. Proceeds of the race went to benefit Christian Heritage Academy. Thanks to Mark and Kathy Griffith for their hard work in making the event a success even in tough conditions.