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Saturday, September 3, 2011 -- Charleston, WV / State Capitol Building
Charleston Distance Run (iPO Event Id#: 13434)

2011: [Details] [Coverage] [Photos]
Results: [Overall Results] [Results by Class] [More Results] [More Results] [More Results] [More Results] [More Results]

Past Coverage: [1998] [1999] [2000] [2001] [2002] [2003] [2004] [2005] [2007]

[2008] [2009] [2010]

Historical Race Shows, Running is Ageless

Story and photos by Daniel Todd and Julie Black.

CDR 2011 Photo by Daniel Todd
See more race photos.
As soon as I (Daniel Todd) walked out the door at 7 AM and it was already above 70 degrees I knew this year's Charleston Distance Run (CDR) was going to be epic.

This 15 mile course with long straight stretches of exposed asphalt along the Kanawha River can be brutal. I look forward to a little nip in the air at the start of each distance run, but this year as runners warmed up near the gold dome of the state capitol building beads of sweat formed almost immediately.

The staggered starts of the 5 kilometer and the 15 mile races make it appear that one group of runners in getting a head start. Runners don't get a countdown, but start with the sound of a canon that echos across the valley. The concussion makes your heart leap into your throat.

The 5k runners bolted across the start line towards the first turn on Dunbar Street. As they raced back towards Laidley Field Jon Calhoun had the lead and wouldn't give it up finishing first overall with a 17:55:8.

Less than a half minute behind local boy, Brandon Merritt finished 2nd overall. Jenni Pustinger of Terrace Park, OH out raced all other women with a 22:39:8. Chasing Pustinger to the finish was Connie Young with a 22:55:3.

The youngest runner in the 5k was six year-old Brady Dawkins completing the course in 53:19:8. On the opposite end of the spectrum was 79 year-old Jon Hall with a 33:01:5. Running is ageless.

CDR 2011 Photo by Julie Black
Emily Chenny, See more race photos.
As the 15 milers passed the capitol dome for the 2nd of three times Joe Moore of Raleigh, NC lead Bryan Morseman of Addison, NY.

Once the leaders turn left before the Elk River they will have several opportunities to put a gap on the competition before entering Laidley Field.

Maria Busienei lead Emily Chenny (Huntington, WV) at the 15.5K mark. At this point in the race runners have another long stretch of road to keep an eye on the current leaders. Chenny distanced herself to be the overall women's winner with a time of 1:35:55.1.

Joe Moore of NC, beat out other top American runners with the overall winning time of 1:20:12.2.

From the Editor

CDR 2011 Photo by Julie Black
The Proposal, See more race photos.
I've (Julie Black) been to the Charleston area many times to cover races, but this was my first time at the CDR.

Taking photos at the finish line this year gave me an interesting view of the race. I got to see the many volunteers show up early to be sure that every banner was in place and every tent had a stake for every pole. The timers set the clock and checked their laptops two and three times over, as medics prepared for a long day due to the unusual, early morning high heat. There was even a military band who played rock music and tuned up with some Led Zepplin tunes. It was quite the show unfolding, and it all happened before 7:30 am.

There was even a wedding proposal at the finish, she said yes by the way.

The 5K finishers were first, over 500 runners and walkers, and then came the 15 mile runners and 10K walkers. All in all, more than 1,000 people crossed the line and my 3,000 or so photos shows many of them with smiles and thumbs up.

CDR 2011 Photo by Daniel Todd
See more race photos.
The support of the finish line volunteers was amazing. They stood there in the blazing heat for 4 hours, many of them overdressed, just to cheer on the runners and walkers and give them wet towels as they finished. I was proud to stand with them.

It's hard to believe that despite all of the enormous support this race receives, it's in danger of going away or of becoming a possible half-marathon. The event has a rich history and "Capital Punishment" - a hill on the 15 mile trek - upholds the CDR's reputation of a tough course to all runners who dare to conquer it's paved punch.

"I love the history of it." Jason Pyles (5th overall) told Jack Bogaczyk of the Charleston Daily Mail , "Frank Shorter (1976 champion), Bill Rodgers, the best American runners have gone that distance here in the past. I love that history. I'd hate to see it fall to the wayside, and I think we're going to see the Distance run regroup."

Well the regrouping has already begun. The event promises to be even bigger in 2012 and this year a portion of the photos that took is going to help support this historic race. Thanks for your purchases!

Be a part of history!

Visit and run or walk the CDR in 2012!