- The Washington Times - Sunday, February 23, 2003

The elite field for next month's Washington DC Marathon is beginning to gel and it appears the records set at last year's inaugural run will be smashed.
Race director John Stanley announced last week that Kenyan Joseph Kamau, Ukrainian Osmak Igor, Ethiopian Kassahun Kabiso and American Michael Dudley have committed to the men's race while Ethiopian Leila Aman, Russian Janna Malkova and Romanian Dana Petrescu have committed to the women's side.
The race is slated for March23, with a modified course which should be flatter and faster than last year's route.
Prize money in excess of $25,000 $5,000 first prize and $3,000 runner-up award helps attract the international stars.
Kamau was on top of the world in 1997, with a runner-up effort at the Boston Marathon (2:10:46) and a top 10K road time of 27:11 in Pittsburgh that year. He competed here in Washington in 1998 at the Cherry Blossom 10-Miler.
He won the Long Beach (Calif.) Marathon last year in 2:16 after a 2:18 the year before.
Igor has gone 2:12 before, at the Motorola Marathon in Austin, Texas, in 2001. But the Ukrainian who trains in Gainesville, Fla., could muster only a 2:24 for eighth place at Ocean State in Rhode Island last year.
Dudley, 15th at the 2000 U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials in Pittsburgh, ran 2:23 in Detroit last year. The former West Virginia University All-American won the Las Vegas International Marathon in 2:18 in 2001.
Kabiso, just 19, placed 24th at New York City last year, but he has run as fast as 2:16:59, getting outkicked for the win at Hartford, Conn., last year.
So far, the two women who could go head to head are Aman, with a 2:35 at the 2001 Rock 'n' Roll Marathon in San Diego and Malkova, with her 2:37 at the 2002 Columbus Marathon in Ohio.
It would not be Aman's first trip to Washington. She was here last year, placing 11th at Cherry Blossom.
Last year's Washington DC Marathon winning times were 2:23:40 for the men and 2:54:30 for the women.
No guilt
If you missed much of your outdoor training this past week, do not fret. Take it as a vacation from hard-core training.
The weather did mess with the racing schedule. The Washington's Birthday Marathon was canceled seven days ago, and yesterday's By George 5K and today's Columbia 10-Mile Challenge were canceled because of snow on the course or dangerous road conditions.
Race officials for the 10-Mile Challenge said that for just the second time in the history of the event the race has been canceled because of weather conditions.
The downpour yesterday reminded me of last year's Sallie Mae 10K, which will be on May11 at 8a.m. in Washington's West Potomac Park. The race is in its 20th year and will give away $18,000 in prize money.
But the big news is that the course once again includes Hains Point, that wonderful strip of U.S. Park Service property which has killed many a great time when the winds are howling. That beloved area has been closed for the past couple of years due to construction.
Hopefully, the snow will be melted and the flood waters receded by next Sunday, when the B&A; Trail Marathon/Half Marathon makes its 12th appearance.
The Annapolis Striders race is scheduled for March2 at 7:30a.m. at Severna Park High School in Severna Park, Md. Some 691 runners finished last year, with 221 in the marathon and 470 in the half marathon.
But this year, it could be messy depending on the weather over the next week. The first three miles are on residential streets, but the remainder of both the marathon and half marathon is on the B&A; Trail, an asphalted bike and running path along a Rails-to-Trails Park.
Registration is open through Saturday at $45. For more information, call Tom and Sharon Bradford at 410/987-0674.

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