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Saturday, May 6, 2000 -- Parkersburg, WV
Erickson All-Sports Challenge 2000 5K
Story and photos by Julie Bertsch

[Details] [Coverage] [Overall Results] [Pic Set 1] [Pic Set 2]

The start of 1st Annual Erickson All-Sports Challenge
It was a beautiful, very warm morning for the first annual Erickson All-Sports Challenge 5K Run. The race benefitted the Erickson All-Sports Facility Track and Field Program.

This incredible sports facility when completed, will have 1200-1500 on-site parking spaces, a regulation sized ball diamond with a grass field, good lighting, permanent fencing, and approximately 500 open-deck bleacher seating. It will also include a new football field/soccer field to reduce the load on Stadium Field with a natural grass surface with adequate draining to withstand the heavy use which will still be encountered and the soccer field which will meet the WVSSAC requirements for play-offs sites, a new state of the art, eight lane rubberized surface, an all-weather 400-meter track with additional 100-meter straight and all-weather high jump, and pole vault areas. The new track facility will also meet all requirements of the WVSSAC to host the annual State Track Meet.

Erickson All-Sports Challenge 2000 5K
Brandy Williams & Camilla Miller sprint together
The course started at Parkersburg's South High School, and wound it's way down Blizzard Drive, Broadway Avenue, Old Camden Avenue, and finished with a lap on the brand new track at the Erickson Center.

The heat was setting in, and over 40 folks were anxious to start. The signal was given and the runners were headed for the road. Volunteers on bikes lead the way, and two four-wheelers and an ambulance brought up the rear. Traffic control didn't seem to pose too much of a problem, although the busy streets of South Parkersburg can be very unpredictable.

Erickson All-Sports Challenge 2000 5K
George Angelos & Matt Lilly coming in to the home stretch
A pack of runners lead the way to Old Camden Avenue. George Angelos, Matt Lilly, Larry Cassady, Mike Taylor, and Don Lane were among the leaders. Some unfortunate confusion arose at the intersection of Broadway Avenue, and Old Camden Avenue due to construction and an absence of course markers.

George Angelos really turned it on after the misunderstanding at mile 2, and was at full sprint as he entered the track gates. He stayed ahead of 12 year old Matt Lilly who ran a very strong race. Angelos finished first to capture the Overall win. Larry Cassady finished just 2 seconds behind Lilly to take 3rd. Linda Cannon was the first woman to enter the chute, finishing 18th Overall. Connie Hurst finished as the 2nd woman overall, and Sandi Deem took 3rd.

Erickson All-Sports Challenge 2000 5K
Steve Smith & Larry Gerrard are happy to be at the finish
I was informed that times would have been much faster had the mis-hap on the course not occurred, along with a few other things as well. I've been to many running & walking races all over WV and PA, and I have seen Murphy's Law in affect more than once, especially at first time races. Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong. Sometimes, the unexpected happens, and things that seem like minor details are really a big deal when it comes to race time.

Despite a few kinks in the system, this race had MANY wonderful sponsors, and some excellent volunteers to go with it, such as Norma Phillips & Julie Rathbone. You can rest assured that when folks like that are involved, the kinks are sure to be worked out for next year's 5K!

More racing action is coming up in May in Parkersburg this weekend at the YWCA Pacesetter 5K Run/Walk. We hope to see you there!