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Sunday, March 16, 2008 -- Grafton, WV / Grafton High School
Grafton 5-Mile Run-MAGP Endurance #1 (iPO Event Id#: 10700)

2008: [Details] [Coverage] [Photos] [Overall Results] [Results by Class]

Coverage: [1999] [2000] [2001] [2002] [2003] [2004] [2005] [2006] [2007]

Kicking Off the MAGP Endurance Series in Grafton

Photos by Jason Black with article by Julie Black

Grafton 5-mile run photo by Jason Black
Scott from Fairmont, WV gives a smile
The Grafton 5-mile run, formerly a 4-mile run, turned 33 this year. iPlayOutside is proud to say that we've been to 10 of these annual races in Grafton and they never seem to disappoint no matter what the distance is in the end.

This year the details noted that the run was an official 5-mile course that extended out past the field house for an extra loop. As always, proceeds went to the Grafton High School (GHS) Girls Track Club.

The GHS Bearcats were sporting new, yellow and blue, 2007 State Champion jackets. Even Coach Robinson was wearing hers with pride. The team won the AA-A overall honors at the 2007 West Virginia Cross Country Championships. If you donated any money on Sunday, consider it a good investment.

The chilly morning was overcast, but clear. A handful of children challenged the 1/2 mile kid's, course. All received large "bling-bling" at the finish in the form of wearable medals which they proudly put on right away.

Grafton 5-mile run photo by Jason Black
A little one in the Kids Run

The 5-mile course began up the road near a local gas station. The course was flat, paved road for the first 2 miles leading to a bridge. At mile 3 the road became a gradual uphill challenge through a neighborhood. Mile 4 took racers downhill for a spell where they caught a glimpse of downtown, and then back over the river. Once off the bridge, racers returned to the flat river road for a last loop by the field house before the finish. Spectators cheered for everyone as they passed by Grafton High.

Usually the top Master men tend to take front stage at these MAGP Endurance races, but on this day the top three went to men in the younger age groups.

Averaging a 5:25 pace, 21 year old Mathew Bright finished first overall with a time of 27:03. Adam Frohnapfel, 16, of Morgantown, WV claimed second in 28:07. Derek Bolyard, 25, took home the third place trophy with a time of 28:21.

Grafton 5-mile run photo by Jason Black
Shannon Reed has some fun at the end
It was also a fast day for the young women. Twenty three year old Amanda Maxwell, stayed ahead of 23 year old Heather McDaniel to win the overall women's spot. Maxwell took 15th overall in 33:37. McDaniel, of Grafton, won second in 33:53. Jen Sober, 34, rounded out the women's top spots in 33:58.

Post-race treats and awards we given out in the warmth of the Grafton High School gym. Professional timing was provided by Miles of Smiles Timing Services. Thanks to Coach, Eva Robinson, and her crew of dedicated Bearcats and volunteers. Thanks to the main sponsors, Grafton City Hospital and Tygart Valley Rehab and Fitness.

Don't miss the next event in the MAGP Endurance Series presented by Dynamic Physical Therapy coming up on March 30th. The Cooper's Rock 10K run and 5K walk will take place on Sunday at 2:00 pm. Join us at Cooper's Rock State Forest just outside of Morgantown and Cheat Lake, WV for this annual road race.

For the Record:

This was the first time that my son wanted to run a kid's race, "without Mommy." My heart swelled and my eyes teared as my 5-year old ran off next to two Grafton High Track girls. I overheard him ask, "We have to go all the way down there?"

Grafton 5-mile run photo by Julie Black
Kirk shows off his medal

I was worried that he'd cry or throw-up at the finish and that his experience in independence would end in horror (it's a 'Mom thing').

As he reached the turn-around and came back the other way I could see his little red face. Kirk's eyes were serious. He meant business. He motored on to the finish and never walked. I was overjoyed and said, "Wow, nice job! You got a medal!" He replied, "Mom, everyone got a medal."

I had to laugh out loud. They really grow up way, way too fast these days.

This was also the first race that I had run in years. (As most of you know, I'm usually the one behind the camera.)

It felt great! No blazing times, but I actually had a lot left in the end and I didn't hurt myself. Hopefully I'll have the chance to do a few more races this year, especially in the MAGP Series.

All of you are so inspiring. For example: this year a friend of mine, Heather Parks, had a beautiful baby boy. She ran during her pregnancy until she could run no more. Now that the little bundle is a 1-month old, Heather has recently started her running schedule again. Something tells me that this may be her best year yet.

Her dedication to training and overall racing skills have always blown me away and made me think, "Man, I wish I could do that." Well I doubt that I become anything short of ordinary on a race course, but I am inspired to run for sure.

This year, I think it's MY turn to play outside.