- The Washington Times - Sunday, March 22, 2009

As Patrick Moulton rounded the ramp off Minnesota Avenue SE onto the East Capitol Street bridge, he kept scanning back up the ramp. The object of his search, Kenyan David Cheromei, was nowhere to be found.

That was because Moulton could not believe he had put a 36-second gap on Cheromei in just a couple of miles. As Moulton cruised off the ramp and focused on the underpass ahead, he finally caught a glimpse of Cheromei behind him on the road above.

About 1 1/4 miles later, Moulton strode to victory in the fourth National Marathon & Half Marathon in the District. He earned $2,000.

“Coming into the race, I was pretty confident that I could run with anybody,” said Moulton, a Providence, R.I., resident.

Moulton completed the 26-mile, 385-yard double-loop course, which started and ended at D.C. Armory and traveled through six of the District’s eight wards, in 2:21:18. He crushed the event record of 2:24:59, set last year by Michael Wardian of Arlington.

Moulton, 27, also became the only man in four years to outrun Wardian, the winner of the three previous National Marathons. Wardian settled for the runner-up spot and $800 after running down Cheromei by the end of the bridge and finishing in 2:22:15.

Jeannette Seckinger of Somerville, Mass., captured the women’s title in 2:48:39. Seckinger, 26, said it was nearly a six-minute personal best but that it took all the energy she had to overhaul 39-year-old Elena Orlova of Russia in the last 200 meters.

“Three were three of us girls at Mile 18 for a while, then [Orlova] put a gap on me - maybe five seconds - at Mile 25,” Seckinger said. “My coach [Terrance Shea] was right there and he said, ‘Remember the workouts’ - and I picked it up.”

Seckinger said her triumph was her second marathon win after her victory at the Reggae Marathon in Jamaica in 2007.

Moulton also celebrated his second marathon victory, though his resume is more impressive, including the 2:15:35 he ran in Austin, Texas, in 2006 and the 2:18 he ran at the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials in New York City in 2007.

As in his win at the Hartford Marathon last October, Moulton moved into the lead in the later stages of the race. But in several stretches of the course, he lost contact with the leaders.

“At the beginning, I didn’t feel very well, but I never gave up,” he said. “I was pretty confident at 20 miles when I passed Wardian and another guy.”

That moved him into third. In short succession, he passed longtime leader David Mosop, then Cheromei for the lead some two hours into the race. With one long look back, Moulton was headed for victory.

In the half marathon, Demesse Tefera split up a five-pack in the hills of Adams Morgan after five miles to lower the event record by 62 seconds in 1:05:15.

“After five miles, I was feeling pretty easy,” said the 26-year-old Ethiopian with a 1:02 personal best at the 3M Half Marathon in Dallas in 2007. Like clockwork, he rattled off near-exact five-minute miles for all but one mile - the 10th downhill one on North Capitol Street, where he poured on a 4:45.

D.C. resident Christopher Raabe also run under the event record with a 1:06:07.

Ethiopian Hirut Mandefro took the women’s half marathon in 1:15:36, also an event record by 55 seconds. D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty took advantage of stellar weather to complete the marathon in 3:25, a personal best.

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