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Saturday, June 9, 2001 -- Ronceverte, WV
Greenbrier River Distance Run (iPO Event Id#: 3645)
Story by Steve Crowder with photos by Leslie Crowder

[Details] [Coverage] [Overall Results] [Pic Set 1] [Pic Set 2] [1999 Event Coverage]

Race Start
The start of the 2001 5 Miler
Although the number of participants was down from previous years, enthusiasm was high for this year's annual Greenbrier River Distance Run in Ronceverte, West Virginia. Those who turned out for the five mile race had good reason to be excited as they were treated to nearly perfect running conditions with slightly overcast skies and temperatures in the low 50's. Add those conditions to the mostly flat and fast course, and you have the recipe for some good performances. Of course the race is part of the Ronceverte River Festival, so if runners needed any extra incentive to hurry to the finish, there was a day full of fun and activities waiting just across the line.

Steve Crowder, who won the race three consecutive times from 1997 to 1999, was back after missing last year's race due to an injury. He grabbed the lead from the gun and pulled away throughout the race to take the win in 25:58. Mark Looney, who was coming off a fifth place finish at the Buffalo Marathon on May 26, ran a conservative but solid race to claim second in 29:18. The battle for third came down to the wire, as David Pyles and Finn Pincus waged a close battle. Pyles built a lead on Pincus early in the race only to be reeled in around the mid-way point. The two ran together most of the rest of the way before Pyles displayed a strong kick to grab third overall in 31:00. Pincus crossed the line just 3 seconds later to take fourth and first in his age group.

Kids run awards
To the victors go the spoils!
On the women's side, Sharon Peake, who won the Hospice 10k in Lewisburg on May 5, continued her dominance of area races. Peake, the defending champion and multi-time winner of the race, finished with a time of 33:18 to win by over four minutes. Her nearest competitor was Martha Drinkard, who crossed the line in 37:49. Rounding out the top three was Garieani Cunningham. Cunningham completed the course in 38:49.

In the one mile fun run, eight year old David Johnson led the way in 8:37. He was followed closely by Alex Wriston, age twelve, who finished in 8:59. Five year old Shay Tomlinson took third in the boys division with a time of 12:47. Meanwhile, eleven year old Kelli Morgan took the girls' title. Morgan, who is a budding basketball star, proved that she is also a good all-around athlete, as she finished in a very respectable 9:07.

After the race, the sun came out almost as if on cue to kick off the day's festivities. Proceeds of the race went to benefit the Greenbrier County Rescue Squad, who also helped to make the race possible by providing many volunteers and support services.