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Thursday, June 2, 2011 -- Connellsville, PA
Highlands Hospital Francis Bud Murphy Memorial 5K Race (iPO Event Id#: 13498)

[Details] [Coverage] [Photos] [Overall Results] [Results by Class]

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Story and photos by Don Parks

Bud Murphy 5K Photos
See More Photos by Don Parks
The Highlands Hospital Francis Bud Murphy Memorial 5K Race celebrated its 25th anniversary this year. They were rewarded with some pretty nice weather compared to the usual hot and muggy conditions. Temperatures were only in the seventies and the humidity was mild. Perfect conditions for setting a new course record.

Once the gun sounded to start the race it quickly became a two man duel between Wade Schnorr and Justin Simpson. Schnorr is a 24-year-old local Connellsville runner who was the defending champion after several years of finishing second. Simpson is a 27-year-old race newcomer who once ran for West Virginia University (they dropped their men's track and crosscountry teams in 2003).

Schnorr and Simpson battle back and forth throughout the race with the lead changing several times. In the end it was Simpson whose legs carried him down the final hill fastest as he crossed the line at 16:02, a new course record. Schnorr's second place time of 16:10 would have been a new course record had it not been for Simpson.

Bud Murphy 5K Photos
See More Photos by Don Parks
Simpson said he had checked previous results and had expected the winning time to be around 16:45. But after the first mile he thought to himself that Schnorr's pace was certainly faster than that. His other impression from the race was the race start that immediately takes you up a large hill. "I've never been in a race with hill like that right at the start," he commented, "at the top I thought my chest was going to explode!"

It was two minutes after Simpson and Schnorr finished that Eric Rankin emerged from the rest of the field to take third overall in 18:07.

In the women's race course record holder and defending champion Heather Parks was no match for WVU track and crosscountry runner Jordan Hamric. The 21-year-old Hamric finished with a winning time of 19:09. The 36-year-old Parks earned second place honors at 20:16. Still pretty impressive for a mother who just had her second child less than ten weeks ago. "At least I still have the course record [17:32 in 2004]," she said in conciliation.

Rounding out the women's top three was 41-year-old Debbie Conner with a time of 20:54.

In the 5K walk competition 59-year-old Don Slusser (29:38) held off a strong challenge from 23-year-old Timmy Van Halen (29:46) to take the win.

On the women's side it was a home town win for 42-year-old Leanne Kurpiel (30:36) with 52-year-old Linda Rumbaugh (30:46) keeping it close for second. The two ladies finished third and fourth overall, respectively.

After the race it was the usual abundance of awards, random prizes, and refreshments that have become a trademark of the Bud Murphy races. And after all that it was off to Bud Murphy's Sports Bar for even more refreshments!