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Saturday, June 7, 2003 -- Masontown - Morgantown, WV
Deckers Creek Trail Half Marathon (iPO Event Id#: 5509)
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] [Set 10]
[2001 Event Coverage] [2002 Event Coverage]

Race Pic
Soaking up some fun on the rail-trail
Runners getting up early on National Trails Day 2003, and heading out for the Deckers Creek Rail-Trail, where greeted by a steady rain and cool temperatures. But the 140-plus who made their way to the soggy start of the annual Half Marathon where thankful. Happy it was not a repeat of last year's stifling heat and humidity. And then, less than an hour into the race, the rain ceased and the sun even worked to make its way out. At the finish folks only commented on how good the conditions were for a long race.

Right from the start it was Jaron Hawkins pushing the pace and gunning for a sub-1:10. It seems obvious that someone from Frostburg, Maryland, would be quite use to a little nasty weather.

1st Overall
Jaron Hawkins storms into Ruby McQuain Park
By mile four it was Hawkins well off the front followed by a spread out group of chasers. Holding on to second was E.J. Linger, a local Morgantown runner who finished third at Deckers the last two years. Next was Weston, West Virginia's masters stalwart Murshid Latif in third. Rounding out the top five at this point were Jared Smith (Danville, WV) and John Colavincenzo (Beaver, PA), respectively.

The runners would stay in this order until well into the race, but as the miles piled up, things began to get interesting. Hawkins, who was on his goal pace through nine miles, was seriously slowed by a bought of intestinal troubles. By mile eleven, Linger had hit the wall and would slow to 7-minute miles. Late race cramping had Smith constantly fighting to keep up his pace.

Bob Baker, coach, timer, runner, etc.
What about Latif and Colavincenzo? They took advantage of their opportunities and surged ahead to move up in the standings. The only one they wouldn't be able to catch was Hawkins.

After running just under 1:15 at the Yough Trail Half Marathon in April, Hawkins had hoped to at least improve on that performance. He hit the line at Hazel Ruby McQuain Riverfront Park in a time of 1:15:03. A first overall finish certainly must be some consolation, and still with two minutes to spare.

In the battle for the rest of the top five men's podium spots, the consistent Latif came around Linger soon after he had crashed, and took second. To add insult to Linger's injury, Colavincenzo would also go on to pass him, inside the last half-mile, and take third. Colavincenzo had already passed Smith, and that left Linger in fourth and Smith in fifth. The tale at the tape: Latif (2nd - 1:17:07), Colavincenzo (3rd - 1:17:52), Linger (4th - 1:18:15), and Smith (5th - 1:18:38).

4th Overall Female
Lisa Morris finishes quietly in fourth
For the women, Pittsburgh's Tina Bailey stayed well ahead of the competition and finished with a time of 1:28:41, a full mile ahead of the battle for second.

But it was a good battle for second. When Williamsport, Pennsylvania's Cindy Bubb would slow for an aid stop, she was getting passed by Morgantown's own Nicole Dorinzi. But in the end the experience of the 36 year-old Bubb got the better of 18 year-old Dorinzi. Bubb took second at 1:36:08 with Dorinzi taking third at 1:36:28.

The last of the 2003 Half Marathon finishers found their way into the downtown park for the Trails Day festivities. And certainly the Mon River Trails Conservancy (MRTC) thanks all those who participated and volunteered in every capacity. It will all go to help their mission "to develop and maintain the Mon River Trail and other connecting trails for conservation and for pedestrian and cyclist use."