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Saturday, June 23, 2001 -- Fairmont, WV
Run to Read 5K/15K (iPO Event Id#: 2314)
Story and photos by Don Parks

[Details] [Coverage]
Results: [15K & 5K Overall] [15 & 5K by Class] [20K Combo, Kids & Walk]
Pictures: [Set 1] [Set 2] [Set 3] [Set 4] [Set 5]
[Set 6] [Set 7] [Set 8] [Set 9] [Set 10]
[1999 Coverage] [2000 Coverage]

Race Pic
15K, 5K, and family fun in Fairmont
A little touch of rain made for some ideal running weather at the annual Run to Read Races for the Literacy Volunteers America of Marion County, in Fairmont, West Virginia. It all started early with a 15K and was followed up with a 5K, 1.5 mile walk and a fun run.

A good drizzle set the stage for the 15K which was made up of two laps through Fairmont communities. The course had some hills, but nothing too intimidating with plenty of well spaced downhill and flat sections for recovery. Well, at least these were the thoughts of race winner Larry Taylor.

The 40-year-old Taylor, who has been on quite a terror this year in many West Virginia races, took the lead early and never faded on his way to a 52:04 finish. His closest competitor was 42-year-old Don Smith (53:55) from Pittsburgh.

Race Pic
Larry Taylor is thinking ahead to his first marathon
Following these masters age runners where several teenagers led by Fairmont's own Jonathan Wright (58:04) who took third place overall. With the top three settled, it was a sprint to the finish between 16-year-old Thomas Hobbs and 18-year-old John Boker for fourth overall and the first place Male 14-24 honors. At the line it was Hobbs by a fraction of a second with both clocking in at 58:49.

The women's competition saw a big increase over last year's participation with 17-year-old Jessica Taylor, the daughter of the race winner, taking first at 1:06:34. Behind Taylor and taking the second and third, respectively, were 41-year-old Carol Davis (1:09:41) and Fairmont's 19-year-old Holly Hunter (1:13:12).

An hour and a half after the 15K had started the rain had ended, and it was time for the 5K run, 1.5 mile walk and fun run. The 5K was another two-lap course, but obviously a good bit shorter loop. The walk and fun run simply called it a day after a single circuit.

Race Pic
Picking up the pace for the 5K
Larry Taylor was on the line again looking for a possible double win, but some fresh competition was also on the scene. It seems the Oak Glen XC team brought their posse down from Chester, West Virginia, and had plans to spoil Taylor's bid for the double.

Taylor was able to out race most of the Chester crew with one glaring exception in 17-year-old Justin Simpson. Simpson was the second place finisher in the WV state cross-country meet last fall (Class A-AA) and dominated the field with a finishing time of 16:14. Simpson said, "I owe it all to my mentor Jay Urse", while he also thanked his parents for making the 2-plus hour drive to the race.

Taylor easily cruised to a second overall finish at 16:58 and he earned the prize for the fastest combined 5K and 15K time. "This will just make me stronger down the road," commented Taylor who is training for his first marathon later this year in Columbus, OH.

Finishing third overall was another double finisher in Jonathan Wright. Wright was running in fifth after the first lap and later commented, "I thought two third place finishes would be nice." He proceeded to move his way up through the field on the second lap to get just that with a time of 18:01.

Race Pic
See ya at the finish!
On the women's side is was Fairmont's own 23-year-old Melanie Watkins out in front from the start for a winning time of 21:32. Taking second was 15-year-old Megan Taylor (22:45) from St. Marys, WV. And yes, she is related to Larry and Jessica. Rounding out the top three was another Fairmont native in 20-year-old Whitney Daniel (23:11).

While all this fast-paced racing was taking place, a host of kids and adults from 3-years-old and up were out getting their morning exercise. Some running just for fun, others out to test their ability to walk a single 1.5 mile circuit as fast as they could. Out-walking everyone was Fairmont's Mike Burns while the fastest lady was Toni Huffman.

As everyone finished there was more than enough refreshments available at race central (the Marion County Adult Education Center) including hotdogs, pizza, fruit, cookies, soda, pepperoni rolls, and so much more. Throw in some nice awards and it was certainly a great way to be thanked for supporting the efforts of the Literacy Volunteers America of Marion County. Not to mention that it was just a whole lot of fun!