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Saturday, July 20, 2002 -- Westernport, MD
Lisa Wade Memorial 5k Run (iPO Event Id#: 4840)
Story and photos by Don Parks

[Details] [Coverage]
[Overall Results]
Pictures: [Set 1] [Set 2] [Set 3] [Set 4] [Set 5] [Set 6] [Set 7] [Set 8] [Set 9]
[2001 Coverage]

Race Pic
Taking Westernport in stride
A tremendous crowd came out to once again pay tribute to Lisa Wade, a young girl who the folks of Westernport, Maryland, will never forget. But the day was not one of mourning, rather a day to embrace the love for life that those of us lucky enough to enjoy should always remember to celebrate.

It is a small community, with a population of just over 2000, but with a tremendous resilience when faced with adversity. On September 6, 1996, Hurricane Fran deposited 7 inches of rain on the Georges Creek watershed in Allegany County, resulting in devastating floods that literally ripped apart many homes located in the steeply sloped mountain valley.

Particularly hard hit was the the town of Westernport, located at the confluence of Georges Creek and the Potomac River. Over 10 homes along Front Street and Main Street Extended were rendered structurally unsound, with a dozen more seriously flooded.

Race Pic
A race to the finish in Creekside Park
The site of this disaster is now Creekside Park, thanks to a great success story that is the Westernport Flood Mitigation Project. And now, thanks to an incredible community planning effort, it is a wonderful site for community gatherings, walks on the nature trail, or quiet time to sit and enjoy the scenery. It is also now a fitting site for the annual Lisa Wade Memorial 5K.

A crowd of over 200 came out to test their endurance on a warm and muggy morning. It was not ideal conditions for Tony Yurko or Maureen Hall to defend their titles, but they were there to try.

The race was close in the early going, but as the finish approached Frostburg's 19-year-old Jaron Hawkins turned on the jets for a comfortable win. He set the new course record with a finishing time of 16:30.

Race Pic
Taking a more leisurely approach to racing
Cumberlands' 39-year-old Yurko bettered his 2001 time of 17:12 clocking in at 16:59, but that was only good enough for third on this day. Rawlings' 32-year-old Bryan Hopkins took second with a time of 16:42.

On the women's side Lavale's 37-year-old Hall struggled, in part because she is currently in physical therapy for an injured hip. She only managed a 20:32, well off her 19:09 from the previous year, but still took home the second place trophy.

Setting a new course record on her way to a win was Carlisle, PA's Rachel Levervoiz. The 22-year-old recent graduate of Dickinson College was running in her first post collegiate race and was happy with a win at 19:06. Taking third place honors was Grantsville's 21-year-old Sarah Morgan at 20:43.

Race Pic
Celebrating the good times with friends
Running in conjunction with the 5K was a 1.5 mile fun run and walk. Some folks took the competition a little more serious than others, and one of those was race director Steve Amann's daughter Ashlee Amann. The 17-year-old Westernport native easily took the overall win with a time of 11:02. Second overall, and the first male, was Frostburg's 11-year-old Shawn Horstman at 11:53.

Back at the park everyone enjoyed nice awards, a tremendous wealth of door prizes, and plenty of much needed refreshments. The success of the event was once again a fine tribute to Lisa Wade, and another fine example of the inner strength of the Westernport community.