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Saturday, June 16, 2007 -- Mount Zion, WV / Calhoun County Park
Appalachian Classic 5K (iPO Event Id#: 10101)

[Photos] [Details] [Coverage] [Overall Results] [Results by Class]

Kyle Crihfield
Kyle Crihfield chased Brian Taylor for 5K

Story and photos by Don Parks

The Calhoun Runners is a new organization created with a goal to help foster running and walking in Calhoun County. It is still a small group but what they lack in size they more than compensate with enthusiasm. They rallied together on Saturday, June 16th, for the first annual Appalachian Classic 5K.

It was a beautiful morning but a little on the warm side for running the challenging course around Calhoun County Park. The park trails are well maintained and while they are not technically difficult the undulating terrain really tests your mettle.

Starting on top of the grassy hill in the center of the park the pack of runners took off at 10:30 in the morning with temperatures already in the eighties. The front runners quickly emerged as Brian Taylor, Kyle Crihfield, and Josh Parsons.

Melinda Fitzwater and Jessica Olcott
Melinda Fitzwater sets the early pace for Jessica Olcott
Taylor is a local runner who up until a year ago was a regular smoker. He is certainly benefiting from the work of the Calhoun Runners. He was pulling away from the rest of the leaders up until around the two mile mark. That is where the heat and hills caught up with him and he had to stop and revisit his breakfast. But as soon as Crihfield was about to overtake him he was back at full stride. He kept his stomach and the other runners in check the rest of the way to take a hard earned win at 21:07. Crihfield wasn't far behind as he hit the line for second just eight seconds later. Parsons easily held the third spot with a finishing time of 23:58.

Making the trip to Calhoun County and winning the women's overall in the 5K run was Jessica Olcott with a time of 33:34. She was paced through most of the race by club president Melinda Fitzwater, who is also the head cross country coach at Calhoun Middle/High School. In the end Fitzwater finished second in a time of 34:39. Third place for the ladies went to local runner Carrie Graffius in 39:07.

Roberta Hartshorn and Norma Myers
Roberta Hartshorn and Norma Myers take a stroll in Calhoun County Park
A few walkers also took part in the 5K with Mark Roper pounding out a nice time of 37:22. On the female side, Roberta Hartshorn and Norma Myers took a rather casual approach to racing and meandered to the finish in just a little over an our. They may well have been the two participants who enjoyed the wonderful scenery of Calhoun County Park most of all.

A big thanks goes out to Gahlen Duskey, club secretary and treasurer, for all his work timing the race and helping organize the days activities. Another big thanks goes out to all the volunteers who worked hard to make sure everything went well. Let's hope they'll see a few more of you out there next year to take the Appalachian Classic 5K challenge.