Benefit run nets nearly $900
Front Sports Page News
Tuesday, January 8th, 2013
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Roland Bland, left, and Jeff Fagga, of Romney, completed the Catch the Christmas Spirit 5K run and walk on Dec. 22 among a whirl of leaves on a very windy Saturday morning. Proceeds from the event benefitted Bland, a disabled Army veteran, and his family, who lost their Capon Bridge home to a catastrophic fire on Dec. 1.
CAPON BRIDGE — The Catch the Christmas Spirit benefit 5K run and walk on Dec. 22 in Capon Bridge had the typical overall and age group winners. But everyone who participated and donated to help a local family recover from a December house fire proved to be the winners.
Disabled Army veteran Roland Bland, fiance Shannon Wood and their two children, have received $877.65 in donations since the race. Two-thirds of that came from race-day entry fees and donations while the rest have come from generous post-race donations.
“This is great,” exclaimed event organizer Allyson Fagga, a self-taught high school student in Hampshire County who spearheaded the idea for the benefit run. “We’ve exceeded expectations and clear made a positive impact. Couldn’t ask for more!”
Fagga offered her sincere thanks to everyone who braved the 25-degree temperature — with wind gusts of more than 40 miles per hour — on the out-and-back course along Smokey Hollow Road. Runners and walkers, including Bland, started and finished at Faith Bible Baptist Church. Donations from The Tea Cupboard in Cumberland, Md., and Gourmet Central in Romney helped to keep overhead expenses to a minimum of less than 4 percent of the event budget.
Ryan Quinnelly, 30, of Winchester, Va., paced behind Eric Vaubel and Kevin Spradlin until shortly after the 1-mile point. Quinnelly then forged ahead and left Vaubel and Spradlin to fight for second place — or so it seemed. At the midway point, Spradlin led Vaubel by a handful of seconds — but led Emily Warner and Jonathan Bellingham by only a few seconds each. Both Warner, 28, of Winchester, and Bellingham, 50, of Capon Springs, passed Spradlin before the 2-mile mark and cruised to the finish line in second and third place, respectively.
Quinnelly stopped the clock in 19 minutes and 33.4 seconds. Warner held off Bellingham and took second overall in 20:56.1. Bellingham outdistanced Spradlin, 33, of LaVale, Md., by more than 22 seconds — 21:06.7 to 21:29.1 — while Vaubel, 42, of Delray, placed fifth overall in 21:375.
Matthew Fagga, 15, of Romney, captured the Under-20 crown with a time of 23:28.4.
The first-place female, Emily Warner, looked familiar to the women’s runner-up, mother Ann Warner, 58, of Shanks. She finished in 27:27.8 — a mere 1.2 seconds ahead of third-place finisher Aseel Salman, 29, of Winchester. Ann Warner clocked a 27:27.8 while Salman finished in 27:28.9.
As for the Bland family, Roland, fiancé Shannon Wood and their two daughters have moved into a new home in Capon Bridge after living in a Winchester hotel for nearly a month. Proceeds from the race helped to pay deposits for utilities, among other things.
For complete results and race-day photos, visit the Potomac Highlands Distance Club website, www.phdispatch.com
. The next PHDC event in Hampshire County is scheduled for April 21 the 2nd annual Campus Classic 4K and 1K at the West Virginia Schools for the Deaf and the Blind.
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