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Saturday, June 2, 2001 -- Charleston, WV
YMCA Worlds Largest Run - Charleston, WV (iPO Event Id#: 3276)
Story by George Gannon and photos by Don Parks

[Details] [Coverage] [Overall Results] [Results by Class]
[Pic Set 1] [Pic Set 2] [Pic Set 3] [Pic Set 4]
Stay tuned for the results, and almost 100 more pics...

Race Start
Charleston does its part in the YMCA World's Largest Run
In celebration of the YMCA's 150th anniversary in America, over 1,000 YMCAs hosted a unified 5K run and fun walk on June 2, 2001, in 700 cities. That's right, one race, one synchronized start time across the country, and many folks in Charleston participated. But none did it as well as Ripley native Jimmy Groves. If one had to experience the brutality that was the course at Coonskin Park on Saturday, June 2, then that is really saying something.

The out-and-back course runs the main access road into the park, and it just happens to be the sight of two major up hills. Hills that left many runners gasping for breath.

Even with the hills, Groves also had to worry about some stiff competion from the rest of the pack. Namely Jared Smith. Smith and Groves were neck-and-neck most of the way, then Smith made what he calls "a tactical error." Assuming a cone he saw was the turnaround, Smith made a quick sprint. His efforts were in vain. His misfortune became Groves' widow of opportunity. Taking the lead and never looking back, Groves crossed the finish line with a time of 17:44.

After the race, Groves said he was happy with his time, but described the course as "hard and steep."

Race Pic
Putting in the Effort
"That last hill was toughest" said Groves.

Smith (18:09) took the number two spot. Rounding out the top three was Jeremy Gladwell (19:27)

The ladies were also well represented at the race. Taking top honors was Ashton Jennette (21:44). A Richmond Virginia native, Jennette, who is accustomed to running on a more level course, described the race as "scenic but rough" and admits to "having it bad" the entire length of the course back.

Although countless numbers of people were running across the country at the same time, there were probably very few who had to deal with a course like the one at Coonskin. But, there were probably not a group of races more suited to deal with the rigors of racing in West Virginia, like the troops in Charleston.