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Saturday, June 19, 2004 -- Parkersburg, WV
Erickson All Sport Challenge (iPO Event Id#: 6328)
Story and photos by Jennifer Cavender

[Details] [Coverage]
[Overall Results] [Results by Class]
Pictures: [Set 1] [Set 2] [Set 3] [Set 4] [Set 5]
Past Coverage: [2000] [2001] [2002 Results]

Erickson 5K
The race begins at the Erickson All-Sports Facility
With a state of the art track, football field, and tennis courts, the Erickson All-Sports Facility is well on its way to completion thanks to fund-raising provided from the annual Erickson All-Sports Challenge. The 2004 5K, a road race held June 19 in the southern part of Parkersburg, will aid in the construction of baseball and softball fields, but raising money was not the major draw for contestants. The well organized race, under the direction of Dr. Tracy Hendershot and the River City Runners, consistently draws runners and walkers of all ages and skill levels, making it a fun, family event.

The Conditions were Nice...
Race day weather could not have been more perfect. An overcast sky resulted in cool temperatures, and runners and walkers simultaneously took off at the start, covering 300 meters around the track before embarking on the slightly hilly course. Participants wound through the streets and ended back at the track for one last lap before crossing the finish line.

Erickson 5K
Enjoying the day...
Let's Give Them Something to Talk About
"This race was tough," said Kecia Garner, of Vienna, West Virginia. "I was shooting for 24 minutes, but made it in 25. I always have a slower time when the race starts and finishes on a track." Though new to running, Garner has taken to the sport like a cheetah on the Serengeti plains. She started off with short distances eight months ago when her brother-in-law from Oklahoma dropped in for a visit. Together, they signed up for a two-mile race. Since then, she has competed in several 5K's and 10K's, and is training for the Parkersburg Half Marathon.

"I'm up to 11 miles." she said proudly. She then extolled the virtues of the Erickson All-Sports Challenge. "With the food and massages at the finish, you couldn't ask for a better course."

David Hayes, of Cross Lanes, West Virginia, was a first time competitor in the race this year as well. He also cited the course as hillier than he expected, but overall an excellent one. "I started running three years ago to lose weight." he said. "I got hooked on it."

With a plethora of beginners and experts alike, the race was a fun challenge for everyone, and the cool weather probably contributed to a new course record.

Erickson 5K
Boyles sets the pace
A New Course Record
With a time of 15:47, 21-year-old Matthew Boyles, of Tuppers Plains, Ohio, shattered Heather Bury's 2001 course record of 16:58 guaranteeing his first place finish. Bury was the top overall time and top women's finisher that year. Second place winner, 33-year-old Randy Gibbs (17:07), of Marietta, Ohio, and third place winner, 36-year-old David Miller (17:14), of Athens, Ohio, battled it out at the finish, securing the men's ranking as the overall top three finishers.

Great Showing for the Women's Field
The women from Parkersburg, WV made a fantastic showing, securing the top three female awards. First place winner, Amy Green (19), crossed the finish line with a time of 20:08. Sharon Marks (46) came in second with a time of 21:08, and Jennifer Austin (22) placed third with a time of 22:04.

Erickson 5K
Many came in from Ohio
Folks Came from All Over... The Erickson All-Sports Challenge draws many walkers as well as runners, and often has repeat competitors. Bernard Fries, 72, of Belpre, Ohio, placed third in the 2001 event, and bested his performance this year by taking second place in the division. "A man I met in Belpre told me about walking races 12 years ago," he said. "It's a lot of fun and a great way to keep in shape."

Barb Kornbau, 43 of Wellsville, Ohio, secured an overall first place prize in the walker's division with a time of 27:28. With a time of 33:56, Bernard Fries came in second, and third place winner Andrew Husk, 17 of Beverly, Ohio, crossed the finish line at 34:28.

Erickson 5K
The kids enjoy racing too
After the last racers crossed the finish line, the children got involved in their own competition. Three kid's races were organized: 50-meters, 100-meters, and 300-meters sprints. Other children's activities included face painting.

Thanks to the Following
Kudos to race director, Dr. Tracy Hendershot, the River City Runners, and all other participants and volunteers who made the Erickson All-Sports Challenge a fun, family event with lots of stiff competition and friendly camaraderie.