Off and Running, Walking

VIENNA-After hearing the starting shot fired by Jackson student and logo design contest winner Nia Fernandes, runners and walkers of Vienna’s 18th annual River Road race hustled for the finish Saturday morning.

Dave Miller of Athens, Ohio, strapped his 12th consecutive win under his belt. Miller was the only contestant to finish the race in less than 30 minutes with his time of 29:40. Following closely behind Miller was Mark Hawkins, who finished second at 31:51. Robert Boston closed the leaderboard in third with his time of 32:19.

Miller said this is his favorite race and looks forward to it every year. “The course is beautiful, it’s the perfect time of the year for a run,” Miller said.

When asked how it felt to add another win to his collection, Miller replied with a humble “It feels good.”

“It is just a great morning spent with friends, runners and walkers alike,” Miller said about his favorite race.

Parkersburg native Karen Cuda took first for the women’s category in Saturday’s race with a time of 34:03.

Cuda decided to go back into running after having her first child.

“It’s a great way to stay in shape,” Cuda said. Cuda raced with her husband Jeremy Cuda, her two children and 6 year-old dog, Tate.

Following in second was Jocelyne Majoy with her time of 35:22. To finish out the podium for the women, Leslie Dickens came in third at 35:40.

After Saturday’s race, Cuda and Tate have their eyes set on Charleston’s 15k, the Dirty Dog race.

The walkers race started at 8:05 a.m. with Tim Finkel of Marietta, Ohio, getting an early lead ahead the rest of the crowd and never looking back.

Finkel broke the tape at his time of 31:41 and won for his second consecutive year.

Forrest Hawkins followed in second with a time of 32:04, while Cecil Chapman landed third at 32:14.

The women’s walkers competiton was headed by Amy Stansberry of Walker, W.Va., who finished at 32:50.

Stansberry said that her longterm goal is to “beat the boys.”

When asked what her favorite race was, Stansberry said the Bunny Hop in Beverly, Ohio is her favorite.

“It is by far the most challenging with all its twists and turns,” Stansberry said.

This is Stansberry’s first year competing in the River City Runners and Walkers club series.

Finishing in second for the womens was Carol Seely at 33:50. With a time of 35:33, Linda Arnold finished in third.

Lou Molinaro was the director of today’s race. A veteran runner and long-time member of the River City Runners Club, Molinaro founded this race in 1996.

It started when former Mayor Bill Owens approached Molinaro and the rest of the club with an offer to sponsor the race if they could organize one within Vienna.

The city of Vienna and St. Joseph’s Hospital, now Camden Clark Medical Center, have been the sponsors of the race ever since.

“I’m thankful of the people that came today,” Molinaro said in regards to his smiling crowd.

Molinaro was pleased with the lack of rain that has coveted the race in the past. ” It was a bit chilly but not bad,” Molinaro said.

“It takes a lot of people to put this on, from the runners to the guys in traffic control, this is truly Vienna’s race,” said Molinaro.

Of all the contestants, Adrian Poellot a 3-year-old native of Parkersburg, was the youngest runner to finish the 5-mile run.

Poellot finished with a time of 1:07:15 and placed 125th.