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Saturday, January 19, 2002 -- Deep Creek, MD
UNO's Snowflake Chase (iPO Event Id#: 4694)
Story and photos by Don Parks

[Details] [Coverage]
[Overall Results] [Results by Class]
Pictures: [Set 1] [Set 2] [Set 3] [Set 4] [Set 5] [Set 6] [Set 7] [Set 8]
[2000 Coverage] [2001 Coverage]

Erika Suhy
Snowflakes aplenty at this year's chase
You didn't have to chase any snowflakes at this year's UNO's Snowflake Chase, they were simply unavoidable. Both the five mile run and two mile walk took place in the middle of a snowstorm. The out-and-back courses, on the snow covered State Park Road in Deep Creek Lake State Park, provided a winter wonderland of scenery for the "out" portion. But the trip back was straight into a stiff headwind of blinding snow.

Never-the-less, there was some great racing. Lining up at the start were Morgantown, West Virginia's Ed Frohnapfel and Heather Bury. The two being the defending Male Masters and Women's overall champions from 2001, respectively, and both having set course records that same year.

Along with these two were plenty of able challengers including Maria Spinnler. Two years ago, in Bury and Spinnler's only other race together, Spinnler out ran Bury in an indoor mile with a sub-5-minute performance.

Race Pic
Snowflakes successfully caught
The course begins with a long uphill grade. By the top of this first hill a lead group had formed that included the two female favorites, Frohnaphel, 19-year-old Jaron Hawkins and 36-year-old Dennis Mickey.

The lead changed several times as the women helped push the pace at the front of the lead group. They passed the first mile mark at a 6-minute pace.

During the second mile, Frohnaphel and Hawkins surged ahead running side-by-side. The duo was able to put a small gap on the rest of the field, except for Bury who had pulled in on their heels.

After a 5:54 second mile, the two leaders began to pull away from Bury. By the 2.5-mile turnaround, she had been passed by Mickey who moved into third, but Spinnler had dropped well off the pace.

Race Pic
Enjoying a wintery walk in the park
The race was now for the overall win with Frohnaphel making gains on the downhills while Hawkins made up the ground going back up. "I started working the hills," stated Hawkins after the race. It proved to be the difference as the Frostburg State University student would eventually pull away to take the win at 29:31.

Frohnaphel hit the line for second overall at 29:43 followed by Mickey (30:12) in third.

Finishing fifth overall, and setting a new women's course record, was Bury at 31:04. Spinnler also bettered the previous course record of 31:48 with a finishing time of 31:26, good enough for eighth overall. Spinnler is just a few weeks shy of masters status, and if she returns next year she will surely shatter the current women's masters course record of 37:32.

Rounding out the top three for the women was 36-year-old Maureen Hall with a time of 34:23.

Race Pic
Now wasn't that fun?!?
In the 2-mile walk competition, for those who chose to make it more than a casual walk in the park, the winning time of 21:36 went to Art Siemann. Finishing second overall, and first for the women, was Suzanne Wilburn at 22:17.

After finishing the battle with the elements, participants and their family & friends quickly made the trip over UNO's Restaurant in Deep Creek. UNO's provided free beverages, as well as an endless array of fantastic tasting pizza, in a banquet room overlooking beautiful Deep Creek Lake. Racers could be seen warming up their toes by the fireplace with full bellies and big smiles.

Dave Ritchie distributed a slew of random prizes along with presenting a check to the Garrett County Chapter of Big Brothers & Big Sisters. Truly a worthy recipent of the proceeds from another great Snowflake Chase.