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Friday, July 6, 2001 -- McMechen, WV
20th Annual 5K Mickey Phipps Memorial Run (iPO Event Id#: 4270)
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]
See previous event coverage: [1998] [1999] [2000]

Race Pic
Racing over the highway in McMechen
What a great evening to take to the streets of McMechen, West Virginia, for the annual MVFD Street Fair that comes complete with a 5K run and walk. Ed Tullius was the local favorite from nearby Moundsville, but Shadyside Ohio's Andrew Lewis had other ideas on who should take the win.

It is a "relatively flat" course and a great crowd took off at 7:00pm from 8th and Marshall Streets. Off the line it was Allen Gilchrest setting a fast pace with a 5:15 first mile. However, Gilchrest soon "needed a water break" and quickly fell back into the field as Tullius and Lewis quickly came to the front.

Look at that hardware!
Ed Tullius takes the top prize
With half the race gone by, Lewis surged to take the lead and quickly put a gap on the chasing Tullius. But, with under a half mile to go, as they turned on to the final long straight to the finish, Tullius was ready to make his move.

It seems that Lewis had nothing left for a sprint finish but the enthusiasm of the crowd was giving Tullius all the energy he needed. "I had some people out there supporting me. All the cheering really helped out," he said after the race. "That last half mile I let her burn. It hurt, but I really felt good," he added. Burn he did as he tore to the finish with a winning time of 17:21. Lewis, who will be helping out the West Liberty State College XC team this fall as a freshman, held on for second at 17:36.

Behind Lewis it was a mad dash for the finish with Gary Heflin (17:44), Joe Foster (17:46) and RJ Nolte (17:48) all crossing the line within a few seconds of each other.

Courtney Phipps
Courtney Phipps trains for a future Mickey Phipps Memorial Run
In the women's race it was Valerie Price (20:45) leading the way from wire to wire. "I just run," said the humble XC and track runner for West Liberty, who will be entering her senior year this fall.

Running alone in second was 14-year-old Kallen Weaver (21:10) who will be a freshman at Linsly this fall. Weaver, like race winner Ed Tullius, was just coming back from racing the Heritage Trail Freedom Run 5-miler two days earlier on July 4th. "I was happy with my time and it was no problem having run on Wednesday," said Weaver after the race.

The real race for the women was for third. That's where Bethany Romanek (21:52) was able to out race Missy Jordan (21:59) to take the bronze.

MVFD Street Fair
Flippin' out on the streets of McMechen
Sorting things out for the 5K Walk was John Elliot (31:19) who out paced Mark Bolhman (31:40) to take the title. Finishing third overall and first for the women was a very happy Jackie Hurdzan. Hurdzan is new to race walking and just started competing at this year's Ogden Newspapers 20K Classic.

Once the race was over the finish line in the center of town quickly disappeared. What it was replaced with was a raucous crowd celebrating at the annual McMechen Volunteer Fire Department Street Fair. It might not be Mardi Gras, but the fun and games at this small West Virginia town lasted well into the night. If you missed it all this year, you can bet they'll be back next year and they'd love to see you there!