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Ricky Campbell and the Appalachian Timing Group team took part in timing runners in a recent race in Nitro. Courtesy photo.

If you are a runner in the region and you compete in any of the various races, it is always satisfying at the end of the event when you know that the time that is posted for you is accurate.

There is nothing like training for a 5K, half or full marathon races and it is not the correct time for your effort out on the course.

For the last 11 years, one of those folks making sure that you find out just how well you did in your race is Ricky Campbell, owner of Appalachian Timing Group.

Campbell, a runner himself with three Boston and one London marathons on his competition resume, got the timing bug through a project while he was a student at St. Albans High School.

“When I was a senior,” he said, “I had a project for my English class where I had to come up with something that would benefit the community. So, I got the idea of conducting a 5K (3.1-mile) race as my topic and followed through with putting on the race and timing it myself. It’s something I love to do, and I know all of the runners appreciate correct results.”

Campbell and his crew have timed races throughout 11 years in West Virginia, Ohio, and Kentucky.

To operate a successful timing company, Campbell understands that being a runner first has its benefits, saying, “I have always run. I don’t run as much as I would like to, but that is only because of the number of races we are handling these days. Most of the folks I work with understand my love for the sport, and, because of that, they understand, I know the value of getting it right for every entrant in any race we are running.”

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When Campbell isn’t in front of his timing computer at a race, his real job is being a doctor of Physical Therapy.

Along with handling the timing duties at the races, Campbell can also be found behind the microphone, announcing his finishers as they cross the finish line. This component is also important to him. “I definitely want everyone to get the same race experience, whether you finish as one of the front runners or are running further back in the field. I honestly believe that if you are doing one of these events that we are timing that you should have your name announced and you should be treated just the same. It is a goal of mine to have every runner have a finish line experience since they have put the time and effort into their training for the event.”

The timing experience is a family affair for Campbell, as his wife, Caren either joins him at a race or she is handling an event of her own.

Over the 11 years he has been operating Appalachian Timing, Campbell has seen a lot of runners come under the finish line arch and many of those runners have grown up running in the Campbell’s events.

“There’s nothing better than seeing a really young runner stick with the sport and watch them get better as they participate in more and more races. Then I see their names listed as All-State runners in cross country or track and realize that they first became competitors in one of my races.

“Then there are some dads who are now running with their sons, and the dads began competing in one of our races. All this is pretty cool when I just step back and think about all of it.”

So, there you have it, the story behind the guy from Appalachian Timing Group who makes sure your time is right and knows your effort is appreciated.

Joe Stevens lives in Scott Depot with his wife, Angie, their son, Christian, and their two cats, Oriole and Mustache.

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