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Appleton, Jones win Memorial Day run

Blake Jones and Sarah Appleton from Pourtsmouth were overall male and female winners Monday in the 9th annual Veterans Memorial Day 5K. Both were overall winners last year.

Jones is the cross country coach at Shawnee State and now has won the 5K six times. He just ran the Boston Marathon in April and finished in the top 200. The 27-year-old coach ran a time of 15:41.

Appleton is 20 years-old and ran the course in 19:38.

Race director Kevin McCown said this year’s runners were up 20 percent from last year.

“We have come a long way from 87 runners 9 years ago to 380 in 2010,” said McCown. “This race attracts runners from all over as families visit Ironton for the parade.”

Also this year the race committee added two new age brackets, 10 and under and 11-14.

“Running is fun and good exercise for the youth. This year’s race attracted 25 runners under age 15,” said McCown.

The Ironton High School track team was well represented with three boys in the top 10.

Pierce Reeves placed third overall, as his teammates Dustin Moritz was fifth and Adam Stumbo was eighth.

Also, Ironton girls’ distance standout Taylor Hacker was 27th overall and second among all females.

McCown was amazed at the number of pre-registration runners at 202.

“We encourage all to register early and save $5. It makes things easier the day of the race,” said McCown.

This year’s race also saw the start with a cannon and all runners ran with digital chips. Runners finish over a ramp that scans each chip, which made it easier for the head timer Tom Plummer.

The Veterans Memorial Day 5K is the only race in the Tri-State on Memorial Day.

“We hope to break 500 in the next year’s 10th annual race. Runners love to run the last mile through Woodland Cemetery and hear ‘Taps’ played as they run by Patriot’s Path. That was the late Frank McCown’s suggestion,” said McCown.

The oldest veteran that ran was Ashland’s Frank Lumberg at age 77, who has run all nine years.

“We just might add a veteran’s award next year,” said McCown.

The race is sponsored by St. Mary’s Medical Center and local businesses.

The Veterans Memorial Committee is comprised of: Joe Isaac, Kevin McCown, Mike Haas, Dave Swartzwelder, Wes Holliday and Dave Lucas.