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Sunday, March 29, 2009 -- Morgantown, WV / Coopers Rock State Forest
Cooper's Rock 10K Run & 5K Walk (iPO Event Id#: 11890)

[Details] [Coverage] [Photos] [Overall Results] [Results by Class]
Coverage: [1999] [2000] [2001] [2002] [2003] [2004] [2005] [2006] [2007] [2008]

Article by Don Parks with photos by J.R. Petsko

Coopers Rock 10K
Hey, this weather is pretty nice!
One of the area's oldest races, the Cooper's Rock 10K began in the 1970's as a 5-mile event and was extended to a 10K distance in 1991. The race is traditionally run on the last Sunday in March to take advantage of the final weekend of spring that the Coopers Rock State Forest is closed to vehicular traffic. While this later fact allows for a wonderful course on car-free paved roads it is also a well known fact that the weather on top of the mountain at Coopers Rock in late March is unpredictable.

The forecast for this year's race was dismal with a call for rain, strong winds, and temperatures in the forties. Not exactly good conditions for doing anything outside. However, the afternoon proved to be rain free and the forest did a fine job of blocking the worst of the winds. The result was actually conditions great for running and many jackets were shed at the starting line and during the race.

Taking advantage of the wide open roads and cool weather was Ron Weist who hasn't been racing a lot in recent years but obviously hasn't stopped training. The 37-year-old from Fairmont eventually pulled away from all challengers to win by over a minute and a half with a time of 33:57. It is the first time since 2005 that the winner has broke the 34 minute mark.

A pair of 22-year-olds battled for second place with Canfield, Ohio's, Noah Brak (35:35) finishing eighteen seconds ahead of Morgantown's Jesse Irwin (35:53).

Finishing fourth overall was the first female finisher in 34-year-old Heather Parks. She, like race winner Weist, is in the midst of training for the Boston Marathon and they both were pleased with their race times. Her time of 36:08 was the fastest women's finishing time for the 10K since her own 35:10 mark achieved back in 2003.

Coopers Rock 10K
All smiles at Coopers Rock
Jen Sober of McHenry, Maryland, and another 30-something runner, was the second female finisher with a time of 41:22. Sober has become a familiar face at local races as has her husband who can usually be seen racing while pushing their son. Sean can add another unofficial win in the "baby jogger" division to his collection.

The third female finisher was Morgantown's Alyssa Anderson. The nineteen-year-old finished with a time of 43:47.

In the 5K walk first place overall went to Fairmont's Rudy Vincent with a time of 38:51. The 55-year-old needed every stride to keep ahead of second place finisher Janet Hardesty. The 63-year-old from Oakland, Maryland, finished with a time of 39:09 to take home the first place overall women's title.

All the race finishers were treated to hot soup and a plethora of cookies in all varieties. The race timing went well and awards were handed out promptly after the last finishers made their way across the line. It was a job well done by all the runners, walkers, and race volunteers.

Please be sure to thank the sponsors that included Back Bay Restaurant, West Virginia University Hospitals, Mario's Fishbowl, and XANGO Juice.