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Saturday, July 14, 2001 -- New Martinsville, WV
Tad Fitzsimmons Memorial 5K Run/Walk (iPO Event Id#: 2055)
Story and photos by Don Parks

[Details] [Coverage]
[Overall Results] [Results by Class]
Pictures: [Set 1] [Set 2] [Set 3] [Set 4] [Set 5] [Set 6] [Set 7] [Set 8] [Set 9]
[2000 Coverage]

Race Pic
A fine evening for a race in New Martinsville
It was a rare Saturday evening race, but that sure didn't keep hundreds of runners and walkers from descending on Bruce Park to test themselves at a 3.1 mile distance. The wonderful turnout for this community supported event speaks highly for the young man for whom it is dedicated. Tad Fitzsimmons lost his life in a car accident on June 24, 1999, and the lasting impression he left on those who knew him is apparent at this annual event.

When it came to racing it was the walkers, some of whom are quite competitive, that turned out the largest numbers with twice the participants as in the running event. Many were just out to pay tribute to Tad and to join in a fun community event. The course was a nice flat route through local streets. Still, there was a race and someone had to be declared the winner.

Race Pic
Three miles of smiles...
When it came to the 5K Walk it was Wheeling's Terry Whitecotton (30:49) who was able to pull away from his competition and walk away with a comfortable win. "I raced this for George Macek," said Whitecotton. Macek, his good friend and fellow race walker, was the winner in 2000 and is recovering from recent surgery.

The battle for second was close as John Elliott (31:47) finished just ahead of Robby Clark (31:52) who took third place honors.

The first female walker, finishing fourth overall, was Martha Elliott (36:45) with JoBeth Simmons (36:57) just a few strides back in second. Rounding out the top three ladies was Elizabeth Dean (37:29) who snuck across the line just in front of Jeanne Barnes (37:30).

Race Pic
Matt Quinet takes home a win
When it came to running the 5K course, it was Matt Quinet (17:40) taking the win ahead of second place finisher Corey Baxter (17:58). "It was close the whole race, but I let him go at the finish," said Baxter with a big grin. "Okay, he out kicked me at the finish," he later clarified.

After the teenagers captured the top two spots, it was a battle between the 36-year-old Mitch Radella and the 40-something Lane brothers, Don and Jack. Jack went out fast and looked good for a podium finish, but after the race and a fifth place finish he admitted, "I went out with people I shouldn't have." His 19:20 was bettered by Radella (19:11) who took fourth and Don who earned third with a 19:01. "Don was running really hard," commented Radella who may have put up even more of a fight had he not run another race early in the day.

Race Pic
Terry Bartrug is stylin' all the way to the finish
For the women runners it was all teenagers at the front, each seeming to run their own pace. First went to Rachel Fox (20:14), second to Bridget Morris (22:02) and third to Shannon Summers (25:42).

After the fastest of the runners and walkers crossed the line a continuous stream of smiling faces, some a little more exhausted than others, made their way to a cheering finish. All these folks scored victories; from Tammi Dower, a modest 28-year-old testing herself in her first race, to Terry L Bartrug III, a fun-loving 8-year-old who was born with Brachial Plexus Syndrome and just had surgery two weeks before the race to improve the limited use of his left arm. They all went home on this evening knowing that Tad Fitzsimmons would be very proud.