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Saturday, March 20, 2004 -- Pickens, WV
Haven in the Hardwood 5K (iPO Event Id#: 6157)
Story and photos by Julie Black

[Details] [Coverage] [Results] [Pic Set 1] [Pic Set 2] [Pic Set 3]
[2000 Coverage] [2001 Coverage] [2002 Results]

Hardwood 5K
Starting off in spring style
The Haven in the Hardwood 5K kicked off spring with a shower, and some sun. Held during Pickens annual West Virginia Maple Syrup Festival, this race takes racers from the edge of town out a scenic path that's creekside, and finishes right back in the middle of the festival action. With all of the buckwheat pancakes and fine West Virginia syrup a runner could eat waiting for them at the end, it's no surprise that racers were in a hurry to the finish.

The course started at the old train station, headed out a paved two- lane road, and then onto a scenic rail trail through the woods. At about it's halfway point, the path started up a small hill to a dirt and gravel road, and then back to the paved road, which looped back to the starting point where racers finished the 5K.

The course gets muddy
Kevin Roush pulled ahead in the last mile and never looked back as he took first with a time of 17:45. Seventeen year old Nathan Rittenhouse said, "The first mile is all adrenaline, after that, reality set in." Reality turned out to be a good thing in the end for Rittenhouse, who took 2nd place overall (18:09). Adam Casseday (18:19) finished a strong 3rd.

Kicking up some mud in mile two was Katie Kuba, who kept a few minutes between herself and her female competitors. Kuba finished 1st for the ladies with a time of 21:58. First time Hardwood racer and Buckhannon/Upshur Track Team member, Amy Lewis, exclaimed, -I like the mud!" after her 2nd place finish (24:08). Phalyn Burr (25:56), rounded out the top women's spots for third.

Ready for pancakes & syrup!
The Haven in the Hardwood was an exciting addition to the West Virginia Maple Syrup Festival. Near the end of winter it's time to tap the trees in Pickens, West Virginia. The art of syrup making dates back to the days when Indians roamed the valley along the Buckhannon River. The rich heritage and friendly faces are what makes this event a worthwhile trip every year.

Many thanks go out to race director Kim Chandler, her sister who typed up the results, and the Hardwood crew for all of their hard work.