- The Washington Times - Sunday, January 19, 2003

In a week when the Boston Marathon said "hello" to the exciting Marla Runyan, the historic race said "goodbye" to former long-time race director Will Coney.
Runyan announced her intention to run the 107th edition of the 26.2-mile footrace on April21. The California native debuted at New York City last November as the first American woman, fourth overall, in 2 hours, 27 minutes, 10 seconds.
In the past, I have been skeptical of the Olympic finalist and five-time Paralympic gold medalist, but I believe Runyan will improve on her New York City time with Boston's faster point-to-point course, further establishing herself as one of America's top marathoners.
The course should be much easier for the legally-blind Runyan, with its virtually straight roads and few major turns. She also has one marathon under her feet now, allowing her to run a more aggressive pace in the first half of Boston than she ran in New York City.
Meanwhile, this year's marathon will probably pay tribute to Cloney, who served as race director from 1947 to 1982 and died on Jan.16 at the age of 91 after a brief illness.
It is hard to imagine that the first Boston Marathon Cloney directed had just 147 runners, none of them women.
The 1933 Harvard grad presided over the introduction of women to Boston in the mid-1960s, finally allowing for a women's division in 1972. Cloney also made the decision in 1980 to disqualify course-cutting Rosie Ruiz, a week after she supposedly won the race.
For those of you who feel left out of Boston because you cannot run the qualifying time, you can thank Cloney for establishing such high standards in the early '70s.
It actually seems fitting that before directing Boston, Cloney directed the Boston Athletic Association's other much larger annual production, the BAA Indoor Games in 1946. The Indoor Games ended as interest in the indoor track circuit dwindled while the marathon has become one of the most popular running events in the world.
I briefly met Cloney in 1982, the first year I covered Boston as a professional journalist and the last year he directed the race. He, too, was a journalist a sportswriter at the Boston Herald and a sports editor/columnist for the Boston Post.
Managing expectations
Many of the races in the area are well-organized. But there have been some pretty poorly managed ones, too.
There is help: The three-hour Race Directing 101 seminar for budding race directors hosted by the Annapolis Striders.
This training session, slated for the morning of Feb.8 at Severna Park (Md.) High School is designed to give instruction on managing a small race or serve as a refresher for those already in the field. A Race Directors Guide will be provided.
The program includes topics ranging from water stops to the equipment needed, to how to run a finish line and coordinate the ChampionChip system. There is no fee but reservations are necessary. Contact Al Stott at 410/647-4298.
Feel the love
The Annapolis Striders will host the Valentine's Two-Some Relay Race at 10a.m. on Feb.9 at Shipley's Choice Elementary School in Millersville, Md. Each member of the male-female teams will run 5 kilometers and awards are based on combined age. Information: 410/268-1165.
Odd endings
For those runners who love to train on trails, maybe you have noticed in the past few months an interesting phenomenon.
With the leaves down and the sun shining through, you can see the subtle uphills and downhills you probably did not notice during the spring, summer and fall.
So that is why certain stretches of trail were so difficult because you couldn't see the pitch as well in the darkened woods when the leaves were still on the trees.


Copyright © 2018 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times welcomes your comments on Spot.im, our third-party provider. Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.

 

Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide