WHEELING - As Danyelle Dunlevy and her friends dashed through the downtown Friday, they had more than just racing in mind - birthday cake was waiting to be eaten at the finish line.
Danyelle, the daughter of Patty and Ryan Dunlevy of Elm Grove, celebrated her 7th birthday by running in the Ogden Fun Run - a non-competitive, 1-mile trek down Wheeling Hill for children 12 years old and younger. The party continued with cake and treats on the WesBanco Arena patio. After the race, Danyelle had few words to sum up the race experience, but she was all smiles once it was time to blow out the No. 7-shaped candle atop a Rice Krispies cake made by her mother.
"It's neat to walk through the streets and see Wheeling in a different way," Patty Dunlevy noted of participating in the Fun Run.
Over the years, the Dunlevys have cheered on Ogden runners and walkers along the race route near their home. Danyelle also has participated in the Tiny Tot Trot, a non-competitive, 100-yard dash for children 5 years old and younger.
The Tot Trot preceded the Fun Run and took place on 14th Street, between Main and Market streets. Just as the race began, rain began to pour. But that didn't keep most children from flying to the finish line.
Wheeling resident Aubrielle Strothers was looking forward to seeing her children - JoeyAna, 2, DeVante, 7, and Makiyah, 5 - run in the Tot Trot and Fun Run events.
Photo by Scott McCloskey
Mason Markovich, 3, of Glen Dale and his cousin, Hannah Jo Rogers, 3, of Lexington, Ky., are all smiles as they run in the rain during the Tiny Tot Trot.
"I just think it's fun for them," she said. "It's great family fun - the whole family is here."
Follansbee resident Mike Sheposh watched as his grandchildren Aven McGuire, 5; Elin McGuire, 2; Calder Mahan, 2; and Fiona Mahan, 4, became tot trotters.
"I think it's a great event even in the rain," Sheposh noted. "I had a great time watching the kids. It was real fun."
He said some of his own adult children are competing in today's Half Marathon.