- The Washington Times - Sunday, October 6, 2002

One of my largest irritations is how few people understand track etiquette.
And I blame all the runners out there who remain silent when something needs to be said.
Tracks are for runners and walkers. Period.
But what I constantly see on the track when I pull up for a workout are children on bikes, inline skaters and unleashed dogs even on tracks where it is posted that those three entities are not welcome.
So I explain to the offenders that the sign on the fence prohibits what they are doing. Most of the time, the offenders vacate the track, albeit angry with me.
I am quite sure they would be even angrier if I shot around the track doing my 200s or 400s and ran into their bike-riding child or skater or pet.
Aside from the safety issue, there is the issue of wear and tear on the track. It certainly is not a city or county priority to resurface the same track every year.
A few weeks ago, I got to the track to find a shirtless, scrawny guy pushing his child on a bicycle, swerving from lane 1 to 6 and back. There were plenty of runners on the track; nobody said a word. So I approached him.
Me: Excuse me, sir, bicycles are not allowed on the track.
Shirtless Scrawny Guy: Says who?
Me: The sign outside of the track (that I had printed for the school) on the fence says that bicycles are not allowed.
SSG: Are you the Sign Man?
To which he continued around the track until the police came and explained to him that he had to leave.
Everyone needs to say something. There are only a few decent tracks in the metropolitan area.
Little Fuss
What Dan Browne did in his debut at the Twin Cities Marathon from Minneapolis to St. Paul, Minn., on Sept.29 was spectacular. The attention he received afterward was abysmal.
Browne won the 26.2-mile race in 2 hours, 11 minutes, 35 seconds, the fastest marathon by an American not named Khalid Khannouchi since Oct.24, 1999.
In his first marathon, no less.
David Morris, who was fifth last weekend in 2:15:27, ran basically one awesome marathon, a 2:09:32 in Chicago in 1999. Only 2000 Olympian Rod DeHaven has gotten close, posting a 2:11:40 in Chicago on Oct.7 last year.
Not only is it validation that Browne could represent the United States in the Athens Olympics in 2004, it is validation for former world record-holder Alberto Salazar.
Let's talk about Browne first. This was his 10th national title, which came with a $40,000 payday. Area running enthusiasts might have seen Browne win the 1997 and 1998 Army Ten-Miler while he was training under the Army's World Class Athletics Program (WCAP), as well as gaining a $20,000 bonus for running under 29:15 (he went 28:35) at the 1999 Pike's Peek 10K in Rockville.
"The marathon is always something I wanted to do," Browne told USA Track & Field after the race. "People told me I couldn't do it [because] I was too much of a miler. They said, 'Dan, you're too much on your toes.' My next big goal is to make the U.S. Olympic marathon team."
Browne has a legitimate shot at a 2:08/2:09 marathon if he continues to focus on the event.
That would further validate Salazar, the wunderkind marathoner who went to work for his sponsor, Nike, when he hung up the racing shoes. Many in the running community were snickering at Salazar for agreeing to a weird pet project that Nike is funding with a few million dollars called the Nike Oregon Project.
Under it, Salazar has developed and managed a group house of runners who live in a pressurized environment to simulate living at high altitude while training near sea level in Oregon.
Maybe he really is onto something here.
Future stars
Starting today, Potomac Valley Track Club will welcome young athletes and adult coaches to its fifth annual Young Flyers program from 3 to 5p.m. in Arlington on Sundays.
The dates are today and Oct.13 at Washington-Lee High School, Oct.20 and 27 at O'Connell High School and Sundays in November and December indoors at Thomas Jefferson Middle School.
The cost for first through eighth graders is $20 and includes two T-shirts one the first day, one the last day plus refreshments and experienced coaching.

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