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Saturday, September 21, 2002 -- Huntington, WV
Chili Fest 5 Mile Run (iPO Event Id#: 5073)
Story and photos by George Gannon

[Details] [Coverage] [Overall Results] [Results by Class] [Pic Set 1]
Past Coverage: [2000] [1999] [1998]

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Running the streets of Huntington
John Nelson was running so hard at the Chili Fest 5 Mile Run even Uncle Sam had to step aside. Nelson, a senior on the Cabell-Midland High School track team, was so fast Saturday morning he pushed the pace car, a National Guard Hummer, to its limit.

"I passed the Hummer," Nelson recounted. "I just kept on going."

Nelson, along with 150 other runners took to the wet streets of Huntington for what it billed as "The Best Road Race North of the Border." As the gun sounded on Fifth Street, Nelson shook off the drizzle and the humidity and started running like there was "no tamale." In the lead the entire length of the race, which is possibly the only course in West Virginia that is free of hills, Nelson crossed the finish line in 25:53, two minutes faster that anyone else.

"I wanted to get out smooth in the beginning and hang on for the rest of the race," Nelson said.

Race Pic
Fun to be had by all
Following Nelson to the finish line was fellow Cabell-Midland star Eric Cooper. Cooper, crossed in 27:18. David Kline rounded out the top three with a time of 27:32.

For the ladies, a former champ got bested.

Barbara Kuhlemeier, last year's winner, came in a few seconds shy of 2002 champ Kelly McGraw. McGraw hit the finish line at 31:42, with Kuhlemeier hot on her heels at 32:04.

"I tried to close the gap in the last half-mile, but I couldn't catch (McGraw)," said the Scott Depot native. But, Kuhlemeier might have known what the case was going to be.

"I saw (McGraw) and went 'Oh no,'" Kuhlemeier said of her pre-race reaction to McGraw's presence.

Race Pic
Staying out of trouble at the Chili Fest
Kuhlemeier, fresh off a marathon at Virginia Beach, Virginia, said the race's shorter distance was something she had to adjust to, but admits she "loves" running in Huntington.

"I run all over the place and this is by far my favorite," she said.

Elizabeth Midkiff took the third spot in the women's division.

Five miles can burn a lot of calories, but lucky for the racers, Fifth Street was lined with participants in the Chili Cook-Off, all ready with a hot (in some cases, very hot) bowl of chili.

An iPlayOutside shout-out goes to Tom Plummer for getting the results to us so quickly.