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Saturday, August 31, 2002 -- Charleston, WV
30th Annual Charleston Distance 15 Mile & 5K Runs (iPO Event Id#: 4877)
Story and photos by Ariana Kincaid

[Details] [Coverage]
Results: [15M Overall] [15M by Class] [5K Overall] [5K by Class]
Pictures: [Set 1] [Set 2] [Set 3] [Set 4] [Set 5] [Set 6] [Set 7] [Set 8] [Set 9]
[Set 10] [Set 11] [Set 12] [Set 13] [Set 14] [Set 15]
[1998 Coverage] [1999 Coverage] [2000 Coverage] [2001 Coverage]

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Heather Bury keeps the women's money in WV
The 30th Annual Charleston Distance Run got off to a great start with the Verizon Pasta Party on Friday night. Copious amounts of food were consumed by runners and their families, and then once filled up on pasta, the die-hards hit the Sport Mart Runner's Clinic.

The first speaker at the Clinic was Don Cohen, the organizer of the first Charleston Distance Run. He said that after visiting several distance runs, he and the others who organized the first CDR still made some novice mistakes. They had three great runners+Dave Walla, Steve Prefontaine, and Jesse Owens at the race, and just before the race started, the guests of honor were driven through Charleston in convertibles so that the people lining the route could see them.

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A 5K & 15 Miler, a race for all sizes
When it came time for the race to start, someone asked Cohen where the timing watches were. "I won't say what I said then, but it was something like, "Oh, expletive!" As it turns out, the watches were in the trunk of one of the vehicles carrying the guests of honor. Luckily, a gentleman at the starting line had a chronometer, "and that's how the first Charleston Distance Run was timed."

This year's Clinic was a special one, as the speaker was none other than Jeff Galloway, not only the winner of the first Distance Run, but also a contemporary of Prefontaine, Frank Shorter, Jack Bacheler, and other great runners. An amusing yet inspiring speaker, he spoke on his chance hearing of the Charleston Distance Run, how he became an entrepreneur (with his running store, Phidippides) and the discovery of the "walk-run" method of running, which reduces fatigue AND running times. He also signed autographs and gave advice to all those who approached him once his talk was completed.

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Rolling to a big finish
And then everyone went to home or hotel to rest up before the big run, now less than twelve hours away . . . .

The day promised to be a good one for running, starting out overcast and misty, but Mother Nature soon proved herself fickle as the cloud cover disappeared and the sun beat down on the over 1,100 runners taking to the streets of Charleston for the 30th Annual Charleston Distance Run 15-Miler and 10th Annual Charleston Distance Run 5k.

Just as last year, a first-timer was the winner of the Distance Run. Zabloh Mokaya, a 28-year-old Kenyan from Kennesaw, Georgia finished the slightly revamped course in 1:15:07.

Second place went to James Karanja, a 29-year-old Kenyan, with a time of 1:16:32. And wrapping up the top three was Jared Jasegera with a time of 1:16:59. The 25-year-old Kenyan lives in Columbia, Kentucky.

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Sprinting to the finish at Laidley Field
The race record holder and the man who has won the race more times than any other, Gideon Mutisya, finished fifth, with a time of 1:17:50.

The first West Virginia finisher was Craig Swisher of Huntington+the 20-year-old finished tenth with a time of 1:26:51.

The women's race belonged to West Virginian Heather Bury (who is highly regarded by all of us at iPlayOutside.com, but especially by our fearless leader, Don) she finished with a time of 1:30:24, which works out to a 6:02 pace, placing her 14th overall.

Irina Suvorova, a Russian from Rockville, Maryland, came in just a minute later at 1:31:26. And the third female finisher was last year's second place female, Alice Muriithi. The 28-year-old Kenyan finished in 1:33:20.

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Sarah Walker wins the 5K, again
First-time Race Director Kelly Castleberry, who for the past few months has been the hardest working man in the race promotion business, finished with a time of 1:58:06, and that's after working late registering folks the night before. Way to go, Kelly! And guest of honor Jeff Galloway finished with a time of 2:32:22, who was taking a leisurely run with his wife, Barb, who finished with a time of 2:32:15.

The winner of the 5K was Scott High School runner Dylan Drinkard, 17, of Madison, WV, who finished with a time of 17:22. But Scott High School had even more reasons to be proud. Not only did its track coach, Jared Smith, finish 21st with a time of 1:31:55 in the Distance Run, but five Scott students finished in the top ten of the 5k.

Second place went to David Dombek, 16, of Charleston, with a time of 17:28. And third place went to Jason Sheets, 15, also a Scott student, with a time of 17:29. The other Scott High School students in the top ten were Michael Smutko, 16, at 17:29, Jose Schultz, 15, with a time of 17:47, and Josh Sheets, 16, with a time of 18:01.

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A champion day for everyone
The top female in the 5k was Sara Walker, 26, of Morgantown, with time of 18:57, which earned her 19th place overall + she was the first female finisher in the 5k last year, too! Kelly McGraw, 30, of Saint Albans finished with a time of 19:28 for second place in the women's category, and 25th overall. Jennifer Lattavo, 24, of The Plains, Ohio, rounded out the top three, with a time of 19:57, which earned her 29th place overall.

Many thanks to all the race volunteers + both official and unofficial + that made the day's races more enjoyable for the runners. Special thanks also to Kelly Castleberry, Mark Courtney, Christine Farris Morris, Jeff Galloway, Don Cohen, Lisa, and all the anonymous folks who helped all along the way. Thanks also to race sponsors Verizon, Sport Mart, Tyler Mountain Water, The City of Charleston, Bayer Corporation, American Electric Power, the Charleston Gazette, and Joe Holland Chevrolet. It's the combined efforts of hundreds, if not thousands, that make the Charleston Distance Run "America's Fifteen Miler."