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Saturday, September 14, 2002 -- Snowshoe, WV
Snowshoe Mountain's Oktoberfest 5 Miler (iPO Event Id#: 5179)
Story and photos by Don Parks

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

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Taking in the scenery on Snowshoe Mountain
Before getting down to the food, fun, and the Oktoberfest beverages of choice, Snowshoe Mountain's inaugural 5-miler was on tap. Starting in what competitor George Moser called a "very heavy fog" (it almost seemed like rain to some of us), the cool mountain top weather wasn't too bad at all.

The race began on the paved foot-path just above Skidder Slope at roughly 4800 feet. Obviously, there would be no where to go but down. But with the finish right in the center of Snowshoe Village, what goes down was going to have to come back up. Add in a mix of pavement, some gravel and even a little singletrack, and the course was certainly not short on variety.

Race Start
Race ready at the top of the mountain
The pre-race favorite, 27-year-old Heather Bury, an elite runner from Morgantown, West Virginia, wasn't about to disappoint. Jim Severino gave chase with a strong effort, but even a little misdirection midway through the race by Bury would be enough to close the gap.

The final 2+ miles are a gradual uphill that ends with one final short and steep grade to the finish in the village square. "The more I ran, the steeper it got," said a smiling Bury after finishing first with a time of 31:00.

Race Pic
Heading back up the West Ridge
The 40-year-young Severino, from Elkins, took second at 31:30. And, while his friends may have teased him about getting "beat by a girl", he wasn't complaining about taking home a 2002/2003 Snowshoe season pass for his efforts. That was the first place prize for both the overall male and female winners.

Third overall and the second male was one of the race's youngest competitors (13-year-old Ben Haas was the youngest), 15-year-old Nathan Rittenhouse, finishing at 33:44. He was followed by the male masters champion, Bob Leonard (33:59), who easily qualified for this category at the age of 58. Make quite the pair, Claudia Leonard (46:10) brought home the women's masters first place honors.

Race Finish
The big finish in the village
As Snowshoe Village began to buzz with the excitement of Oktoberfest, race director Joe Stevens went to work to give out awards and a plethora of excellent door prizes. And from there it was on to an afternoon of enjoying the rewards of job well done, for all the race finishers.

Making the first race a success, a big thanks goes out to all the folks at Snowshoe Mountain and to the title sponsor, Davis Health Systems. You can bet they'll be doing it all again next year, and you know there will be plenty more, in the words of Ms. Bury, "Fun! Fun! Fun!"