- The Washington Times - Sunday, July 28, 2002

Running

The drivers who passed me by at noon the other day, while I was running in 95-degree weather looked at me as if I were crazy.
No, not really crazy.
Really crazy is what four men and one Washington woman are up to in Jamaica, N.Y.
While I was plodding along last week with my 6- to 8-mile runs, they were plodding around a half-mile circuit as part of a 3,100-mile race.
And they picked the heat of the summer to stage this insane survival test. By the time you read this, the leader should have broken the all-time record in the sixth running of the Self-Transcendence 3,100-Mile Race.
Barring last-minute disaster, the winner will be a German with the birth name of Wolfgang Schwerk. He changed his given name to the more appropriate Madrupran, emphasizing the Mad. By all accounts, he will shatter the record by four days, completing the 3,100 miles in 42 days.
Do the math that's 73.8 miles a day.
His longest day was Day 5, 89.45 miles, at least twice the distance that most runners do in a week.
In the heat. In the humidity. In the rain. On days when you are feeling so wiped that the day job is starting to look pretty good.
Today is Schwerk's 47th birthday. Is there a midlife crisis here?
A woman, Suprabha Beckjord of the District, has done this race for years. She holds the American 1,000-mile record, which as far as most women are concerned, she can keep. Beckjord, a 46-year-old veteran of the mega-distance events, had passed 2,500 and was on the homestretch.
I wish her cooler temperatures for the rest of the trip, but the weather report for the East Coast is grim: more heat and humidity to start off the work week. I am hitting the A/C.
Khannouchi, are you reading this?
Add Miami to the list of the newest marathons in the United States. You may remember the Orange Bowl Marathon of the late '70s. Now it is the Miami Tropical Marathon, scheduled for Feb.2.
Organizers have picked a fast, flat course and hope to attract an international field of elite athletes with $50,000 in prize money. But the enticements are even better. This is where Khalid Khannouchi comes in. Break your own world record of 2:05:38, Khalid, and you go home with a $1million bonus.
But the most hysterical part of the incentive package is the $100,000 bonus for breaking the American record, which is the same as the world record. Did somebody miss the hoopla two years ago with Khannouchi gaining U.S. citizenship?
For all the information and more, go to miamitropicalmarathon.com.
Ladies first
The New York City Marathon has decided to take a page out of the playbook of the London Marathon by giving elite women competitors their own race.
New York would become the first major U.S. marathon to set the elite women out early, rather than in a mass start with the men.
New York Road Runners officials, who play host to the prestigious November marathon, said they will send an expected starting field of 50 female competitors onto the course some 35 minutes before the men's elite and open race.
In the past, New York has started the women on one side of the road until about eight miles into the race, where they converged with the men.
Finally, the lead women will be spotted easily throughout the course and at the finish because the lead men will not have caught up to them. Second, there will be no discussion about the legitimacy of world and course records as there is when women are paced by men in the same race.
But the greatest benefit of the new start is that we no longer will have to watch some male elite- wannabe who posts a 2:202:22 time running stride for stride with the lead woman because he wants to get his goofy mug on the tube.


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