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Sunday, September 13, 1998 -- Helvetia
Helvetia 10K Mountain Run and 5K Walk

Pictures: [Start/Mile 2] [The Climb] [The Top/Finish]

Even the drive to the race on Alexander/Helvetia Rd. was scenic

The 84th Annual Helvetia Fair Association sponsored the First Annual Helvetia 10K Mountain Run and 5K Walk on Sunday morning, September 13th. It was a great addition to the two day fair that also offers a little something for everyone, including a parade, Swiss dance programs, arts & crafts, a square dance and more.

The morning's weather was a delight with plenty of sun and cool temperatures. This only added to a scenic race course that was centered around the beautiful little town of Helvetia. The race route, of just over six miles, first sent the runners down stream along the Left Fork of the Buckhannon River, on the paved Alexander/Helvetia Road. After a mile of flat pavement, the race crossed the river and headed back to town on a slightly more rolling gravel road. The course then took the runners through town and out for another half mile of pavement. At this point, it was a right turn onto a gravel road that followed Upper Trout Run, upstream, for another mile on rolling hills.

At 2 miles, it's all smiles for (L-R) Tracy Rosencrance, Jill Zurbach, and Bob Jones
Now, with over half of the race complete, it was time to put the mountain in the Mountain Run. The next mile took the racers off road onto a steadily climbing trail that consisted of a moderate grade for a while before sending everyone up a steep climb, complete with switchbacks. Once the runners topped the climb, it was a fast mile and a half down a smooth gravel road to the finish in Helvetia.

The competition for the fastest to cover the course became a two man show between Larry Taylor and Derek Finegan. Taylor was able to establish an early lead and held it through much of the race. However, after closing in on the top of the long climb, he could see that Finegan was behind him not ready to give up the chase. At this point, Taylor made the decision to go out hard at the top and do his best to drop Finegan altogether. His strategy worked as Finegan lost sight of Taylor as he reached the top of the climb and now had little enthusiasm for trying to chase him down. Taylor crossed the finish line first, with a time of 36:23, and Finegan second, with a time of 37:46. The two leaders had managed to put almost a five minute gap on the rest of the field.

(L-R) JR Cornell, Joel Rodgers, and Tod Kaufman are chased to the top of the climb after 4+ miles of racing
The race to be the first woman to complete the course was set between Rebecca Schoonover and Jessica Taylor, the 14 year-old daughter of race winner Larry Taylor. The younger Taylor was able to gain an early advantage and held this through the first half of the race. It wasn't until the course had headed off road that Schoonover was able to overtake the lead position. Just as the trail began to really climb, the usually fleet of foot Taylor, who admitted to having been feeling a bit under-the-weather lately, could not keep up the pace. Schoonover took advantage of the situation, moved ahead, and was able to extend her lead on the way to the finish line. Schoonover finished first, 16th overall, in a time of 47:15 while Taylor took second, 20th overall, in a time of 50:01.

Don Teter, admitting to too much Helvetia Fair celebrating Friday night, knows it's all down hill from here
The beautiful scenery, pleasant weather, and small town hospitality extended by the folks in Helvetia, made for a wonderful event for all. If you missed it this year, keep an eye out for the race next year. Because this is one you won't want to miss.

Special thanks go out to all the volunteers who helped out with the race, especially the race organizers, Jo and Dan Lehmann, and local artist Joe McInroy, who designed the race T-shirts. It is also great to have generous sponsors like the Helvetia Fair Association, Coastal Lumber, and St. Joseph's Hospital.