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First-ever GRT Marathon a big hit

Coordinator of the Greenbrier River Trail Marathon Kellyn Cassell, right, poses with marathon winner Derek Clark, of Morgantown. Clark finished the 26.2 mile race in two hours and 59 minutes. S. Stewart photo

Suzanne Stewart
Staff Writer

More than 150 running enthusiasts converged on Pocahontas County coming from as far away as New York to participate in the first Greenbrier River Trail Marathon Sunday.

Organized by Pocahontas County native Kellyn Cassell, the marathon was created as a way for runners to enjoy the beauty of the river trail, as well as a way to raise funds to maintain the trail.

Beginning at Cass Scenic Railroad State Park at 8 a.m. with the sound of the train whistle, runners traveled the 26.2 miles of trail winding their way to Stillwell Park in Marlinton.

There were 11 water stations along the route, manned by local civic and school organizations, including the Pocahontas County High School football team, Girl Scouts and PCHS National Honor Society. The 8 Rivers Amateur Radio Club also assisted as eyes and ears along the trail.

As the runners crossed the finish line, they were greeted with cheers, hugs, participant medals and a bottle of water. While cooling down, the runners congratulated each other for finishing the daunting task and stated that the only way the day could have been better is if it was a bit cooler.

High temperature aside, the day was a success and winners celebrated with their trophies of homemade mugs by Alison Flegel, of Cass, and pilsner glasses, minus the beer.

The overall winner and first to cross the finish line was Derek Clark, of Morgantown, with a time of 2:59:25.3. In second place was Andrew Parkins, of Salem, Virginia, with a time of 3:04:27.8 and coming in third was Aaron Walker, of Spring Dale, with a time of 3:08:44.1.

Overall winners in the female category were: first place, Shannon Shrewsberry, of Morgantown, with a time of 3:39:14.2; second place, Jaya Baker, Lewisburg, with a time of 3:51:20.8; and third place, Amanda Rhodes, of Churchville, Virginia, with a time of 4:04:10.7.

Race results are as follows:

Female, 18 and under: first place, Danielle Witt, of Cross Lanes, 6:18:30.0.

Female, 19-29: first place, Megan Lawhon, of Charleston, 4:32:31.7; and second place, Liz Carter, of Bent Mountain, Virginia, 5:57:15.7.

Male, 19-29: first place, Clayton Irvine, of Morgantown, 3:17:10.2; second place, Dave Steinmetz, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 4:23:24.9; and third place, Nick Harris, of Eleanor, 5:15:16.3.

Female, 30-39: first place, Olivia Dale Pape, of Morgantown, 4:24:29.2; second place, Melissa Aru, Herndon, Virginia, 4:31:00.5; and third place, Meghaan Hampton, of Cary, North Carolina, 4:25:22.8.

Male, 30-39: first place, Blair Smith, of Daniels, 3:23:02.5; second place, Stephen Soltis, of Lexington, Kentucky, 3:24:33.5; and third place, Stephen Kaputa, of Alexandria, Virginia, 3:46:41.9.

Female, 40-49: first place, Darlene Gilpin, of Dalton, Pennsylvania, 4:12:11.0; second place, Jill Fogleman, of Morgantown, 4:23:56.6; and third place, Yolanda Campbell, of Hurricane, 4:26:05.0.

Male, 40-49: first place, James Towey, of Henrico, Virginia, 3:19:31.3; second place, Bob Blunkosky, of Fredericksburg, Virginia, 3:29:00.2; and third place, Mark Vanburen, of Lewisburg, 3:47:24.4.

Female, 50-59: first place, Sue Heavner, of Morgantown, 4:12:10.1; second place, Sue Miltenberger, of Morgantown, 4:22:37.7; and third place, Cheryl Cox, of South Charleston, 5:16:05.7.

Male, 50-59: first place, Robert Pepper, of Lewisburg, 3:44:03.0; second place, Gray Gurkin, of Richmond, Virginia, 4:06:48.7; and third place, Scott Duffy, of Winfield, 4:36:25.3.

Female, 60-69: first place, Carol Talley, of Toano, Virginia, 5:21:34.9; second place, Kate Larsen, of Hancock, Michigan, 5:43:50.4; and third place, Jan Spangler, of Hampton, Virginia, 6:13:32.0.

Male, 60-69: first place, Ronald Shuck, of Mt. Hope, 4:38:14.0; second place, Bruce Blankenship, of Beckley, 5:39:41.5; and third place, Mac McMillian, of Charleston, 7:21:00.5.

Male 70 and up: first place, Ron McKinney, Beaver, 5:28:50.2; and second place, Galen Miller, of Madison, 5:55:34.6.

Suzanne Stewart may be contacted at

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