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Saturday, June 26, 2004 -- Lonaconing, MD
16th Annual Iron Furnace 5K (iPO Event Id#: 6121)
Presented by The George's Creek Promotion Council
Story and photos by Julie Black

[Details] [Coverage]
[Overall Results] [Results by Class]
Pictures: [Set 1] [Set 2] [Set 3] [Set 4] [Set 5] [Set 6] [Set 7] [Set 8]

Past Coverage: [2001] [2002] [2003]

Iron Furnace 5K
And it still stands today...
The small town of Lonaconing, Maryland can trace its beginnings back to to the arrival of the George's Creek Coal and Iron Company that purchased 11,000 acres along George's Creek. The company built a furnace complex there to manufacture pig iron in 1837. Though the furnace's operating career ended in 1855, it still stands today as a silent reminder of a time when coal ruled the land.

Dedicated to those early days, the Iron Furnace Park located just beyond the heart of town is the finish for the George's Creek Promotion Council Iron Furnace 5K, hence the name of course. The humidity was lingering, but the race was blessed with a cool morning. More than 130 racers showed to celebrate this event's 16th year in the making.

Iron Furnace 5K
Dudley and Hawkins battle for first at the halfway point
Back for another go round, Mike Dudley dominated the field in 2003 for the overall win. Dudley battled with Frostburg's Jaron Hawkins to the half way point, striding downhill past the finish line where a crowd had gathered.

The runners continued on the out and back loop returning to the finish line and half way marker where the timers waited. This is where the sound of Hawkins footsteps faded for Mike Dudley as he kicked it in at 15:19 for the overall win. Hawkins(15:38) finished a strong second, and young Daniel Dewitt(16:38) claimed third.

Iron Furnace 5K
Maureen Hall at the line
Maryland resident and long time runner Maureen Hall also returned to town to see what the competition had in store. Beating her 2003 third place womens overall finishing time by nearly 23 seconds this year, Hall took home the top place plaque with a time of 19:02. Lauryn Macfawn(20:08) kept a 5 second lead on Lynn Bridges(20:13) to take second. Bridges did however, claim the top womens masters spot.

Thirteen year old Lucas Barkley crossed the line as the first to finish the 1.5 Mile Fun Run and Walk with a time of 11:25. Lacey Hutcheson(13:06) finished second overall and first for the ladies.

Iron Furnace 5K
Close finish for the taking
At post-race time, folks gathered in the historical Furnace Park for a variety of refreshments, music, and conversation. "There's reunions in town for the next two weeks." said Queen City Striders President, Dave Ritchie.

It seemed as if the whole town of Lonaconing supported this race either by racing, cheering, volunteering, or all of the above. Good kharma was all around. Happy smiles, handshakes, and hugs were being given left and right, a prime example of small town America showing big heart-felt pride in the community.