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Saturday, June 19, 2004 -- Charleston, WV
Smoke on the Water Run for Your Life 5 Miler (iPOEventId#:6293)
Story and photos by Ariana Kincaid

[Details] [Coverage]

Pictures: [Set 1] [Set 2] [Set 3] [Set 4] [Set 5] [Set 6]

Run for Your Life
A scenic view along the course
Jody Jividen had two passions: chili and running. Therefore, it's fitting that the 6th annual Smoke on the Water Chili Cook-off (www.smokeonthewater.org) has spawned a new event surrounding the chili-fixing and -eating festivities. Dubbed the "Run for Your Life 5-Miler," proceeds of the race go to the Prime of Life Program at St. Francis Hospital in Charleston, West Virginia. This program covers low-cost colorectal cancer screening for patients.

Did you know that colorectal cancer is the third most prevalent cancer in West Virginia, and in the United States? Did you know that the recommended age for having a colonoscopy is age 50? Did you know that some of the changes that happen to an athlete's body when training can hinder diagnosis? Neither did I, until I spoke this week at Rio Grande in Charleston, WV with Marina Hendricks, the latest chairperson of the Chili Cook-Off. Marina was engaged to Jividen when he died in 2002. He was 44.

Run for your Life
The flag in the nearby cemetary, was kept at half mast
Marina had been on the Chili Cook-Off committee for some time, and the idea had been kicked around for nearly as long. When the time came for Chris Stadelman, the previous chair, to step down, he turned to Marina. And Chris got Marina to agree to be the chair by promising that there would finally be a race to go with the cook-off. A committee was formed. Funds were raised. A beneficiary was found. And a race was born.

My first question for Marina was whether or not Jody was a runner. "Oh, my God, yes. He loved to run. He'd run anything!" she exclaimed. But the committee decided that not any old 5K would do to honor their friend.

"We thought about a 10k, but it was expensive. We'd have had to have paid for the cops to watch all of the intersections in the city. After a quick explanation of the fees involved for groups who want to organize a run in the city, and an expression of her debt of gratitude to Ted Brady, who helped raise the funds for the cost of the race." she added. "And we wanted a course that we could start and finish at the cook-off site. Someone suggested a 5-miler. And when we ran the length of the course and up and around beautiful and historical Spring Hill Cemetery, it all fell into place."

Run for your Life
Many friends participated
"Jody was a big fan of food, especially chili!" Marina recalled. He and his cooking partner, Jim Harlan, won the Rookie Award at Snowshoe Mountain Resort's Fire on the Mountain ChiliCook-Off the first time they entered. Jividen especially liked, and excelled at cooking, green chili--he and Harlan won Second Place at the Capitol Market's Green Chili Cook-off. That's why last year the cook-off committee named the first place green chili award at the Smoke on the Water Cook-off for Jividen.

"You just don't expect to lose someone at 44," Marina replied when I asked her how they selected the beneficiary of the race proceeds. "And Jody was brave--he'd shrug it off if he heard me say that, but it's true. When he got his diagnosis, he went about life as normal as he could." Marina continued. "We want to help people avoid what happened to Jody, and I think he would support our efforts. It's such a cliche, but if we can save one life with the early detection program at St. Francis, then it will be worth it."

Run for your Life
Enjoying the 5M course
Fortunately, for the first running of the race, the weather was cooperative. The day started out cool, and the threat of rain was an empty one. The course was out-and-back, beginning on Court Street beside the historic Kanawha County Courthouse, followed Court Street to its end at Piedmont, where it turned right.

The course then bore right up Farnsworth Drive over the interstate, and on up, up, up, looping through Spring Hill Cemetery before heading back down over the same course to finish beside the Courthouse. One hundred thirty five runners tackled the run.

Undeniably, it was a difficult and demanding course, and Bubby Dent conquered it in under 30 minutes, 28:25 to be exact. (If you do that math, it averages out to sub-6 minute miles.) Glenn Baldwin finished not far behind Dent with a time of 29:49. And Fayetteville, WV resident Aaron Kaylor finished with a time of 30:31.

Run for your Life
Thank you race volunteers
On the women's side of things, Kelly McGraw finished first with a time of 33:42, and 13th place overall. Sue Baldwin finished with a time of 35:51, and 24th overall. And at 39:02, third-place female Jennifer Povick finished 37th overall.

Special Thanks... to Marina Hendricks, Ted Brady, Saint Francis Hospital for the great water stop, Charleston Town Centre Mall, Copper Ridge Running Club, Sears Monument, and innumerable volunteers and donors who made the the Run for Your Life 5-Miler a success beyond the expectations of its organizers.