by George Banker

Fairfax, VA., September 17, 2006 – The conditions were right for the most competitive field at the 7th Annual PVI Runfest 5K. Local talent was matched against international runners which has been the trademark of the race. The event is a showcase of the hospitality of the Paul VI High School and is the most competitive 5K in Northern Virginia.

The two-loop USATF certified course had a 400 meter hill near mile one which the runners had to negotiate twice with several gradual turns in the course. The start and finish was the Paul VI High School. The top runners were going after the $4,900.00 in cash awards (equal money for males and females).

There was a fast start and within a half mile Steve Meinelt, 2005 Georgetown graduate was not satisfied with the slow pace and began to push from the back of the pack. The pack responded as three separated quickly, Jacob Yator, Wilson Chebet, and Jynocel Basweti all from Kenya. The three had a 25 meter gap over Meinelt and Albert Okemwa of Kenya, the lead master. Dave Bredan of Baltimore was close in tow. Meinelt went through the first mile 4:37 and his PR for 5K is 14:05.

Going into the second loop after mile two the top five runners were 25 meter apart. Shortly after going up the hill for the second time the pace was taken to another level as a set up was being made for the finish. Yator and Chebet began to go head-to-head and with 200 meters to the school yard Yator stayed a couple of paces in front and held off Chebet. Yator took first ($400) in 14:21 and Chebet was second ($300) in 14:21. The event record is 13:54 set in 2003 by Mohammed Amyn from Morocco.

Basweti captured third ($200) in 14:38. Meinelt was fourth ($100) 14:40 with the fastest time by an American in the history of this race. There was a $250 bonus if he would have broken 14:30. David Berdan of Baltimore, Md. was sixth ($50) in 15:12.

The action for the females started off the line between Alemgena Desta of Ethiopia and Jennifer Chesinon of Kenya. Desta held a slight advantage over the first loop and the race was tighter over the second loop. In a instant replay, 200 meters from the school yard Chesinon was trying to make a move but Desta covered the attempt and took the win 16:45 to 16:46. In third was Phillies Moriti from Kenya in a time of 16:51.

The top master ($200) was Albert Okemwa in 15:07 and fifth finisher overall. He collected the $200 bonus for setting a new event record. The old record was 15:38 set in 2001 by John Tuttle. The second place ($100) went to David Berardi of Baltimore, Md., in 16:43. In third ($75) was Chris Chattin of Columbia, Md. in 16:44. Mark Malander of Oak Hill, VA., was fourth ($50) in 16:52. The fifth ($25) master was Dan Lawson of Gaithersburg, Md., in 17:13.

The female master and fourth place was Alisa Harvey of Manassas, Va., finishing in 17:27. Harvey collected the new event record bonus of $200 for breaking her record of 17:48 which she set last year. In the inaugural race in 2000 Harvey was the first female in 17:36. The second place was captured by Martha Merz of Annandale, Va., in 18:37). Maria Spinnler of Hagerstown, Md., was third in 19:12. Linda Foley of Oak Hill, Va., was fourth in 19:15 followed by Laura Nelson of Woodstock, Va., in 19:27.

Top Males
1. Jacob Yator, KEN,     14:21     $400
2. Wilson Chebet, KEN,   14:21     $300
3. Jynocel Basweti, KEN, 14:38     $200
4. Steve Minelt, DC,     14:20     $100
6. David Bredan, MD,     15:12      $50

Top Females
1. Alemgena Desta, ETH,  16:45     $400
2. Jennifer Chesinon, KEN, 16:46   $300
3. Phillies Moriti, KEN, 16:51     $200
5. Erin Swain, VA,       17:59     $100
6. Kerry Meagher, DC,    18:14      $50

Top Male Masters
5. Albert Okemwa, KEN,   15:07*    $200 + $200 Record Bonus
8. Dave Berardi, MD,     16:43     $100
9. Chris Chattin, MD,    16:44      $75
10. Mark Malander, VA,   16:52      $50
11. Dan Lawson, MD,      17:13      $25

Top Female Masters
4. Alisa Harvey, VA,     17:27     $200 + $200 Record Bonus
7. Martha Merz, VA,      18:37     $100
8. Maria Spinnler, MD,   19:12      $75
9. Linda Foley, VA,      19:15      $50
10. Laura Nelson, VA,    19:17      $25

The PVI Runfest is sponsored by Clarke-Hook Corporation, Pohanka Automotive Group, emblemax, Ruby Tuesday, The Business Bank, and others

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