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Sunday, August 8, 2004 -- Morgantown, WV
Gene's Run For Special Olympics (MAGP #7) (iPO Event Id#: 6430)
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]

Past Coverage: [1998] [1999] [2000] [2001] [2002] [2002] [2003]

Genes Run
Racing to the finish
Established in 1987, Gene's Run has become a local favorite. The event is the 3rd of 4 evening races on the circuit. The four-mile course starts in the Greenmont section of Morgantown, winds through South park to White Park and returns to a blazing downhill finish in front of that most venerable of local landmarks: Gene's Place.

Fred Fiorini and Debbie Umble were thanked by Debbie McCord for generously donating to the Gene's Race over the years, including 2004. Tommy Newbraugh, Gene's first Special Olympics participant, started things off with a special saying to get racers motivated. The clocks were set, and over 190 participants headed into South Park and the evening sun.

Thanking Fred Fiorini and Debbie Umble
Showing much improvement from a 6th overall finish in 2003, local seventeen year old Ryan Skotnicki of Morgantown, West Virginia cruised downhill for the overall win in 21:04. Skotnicki had the fastest overall finishing time since Genes Race 1999 when Kevin Williams pulled off an overall of 20:58.

Jason Santucci, also of Morgantown, grabbed second with a time of 21:42. Sixteen year old Brandon Miles (22:02), of Grafton, WV is keeping the overall MAGP race for points close with a third place finish. Miles is currently second overall in the 2004 MAGP Series with 652 points after race #6.

Genes Race
Running for the line
Also sixteen, Bethany Scott of Kingwood, WV claimed the overall spot for the women in 28:25. Debbie Wilson (29:07), of Morgantown, WV ups her overall MAGP rankings with a second place win. Wilson is currently second overall after race #6. Also on hometown turf, Rachel Erenrich (29:14), ran hard for third.

Of the top walkers Craig Baer from Fort Hill, PA would not have been a top pick since the Gene's Race was his third race of the weekend. But Baer more than proved that he gets better with every race and placed first overall in 39:42. Jill Ross (43:29), of Morgantown, WV walked her way smoothly to second overall. Hometown bound, Keith Bailey of Morgantown cruised in at 45 minutes even for third.

Genes Race
The Genes crowd cheers
Once racers were done it was off to the "tailgate" for some of Gene's free refreshments. The conversation and suds flowed during a pink August sunset.

Many participants and their families stayed as Special Olympic athletes happily handed out the awards. Thanks to Gene's and their whole crew for putting on yet another enjoyable race.