- The Washington Times - Sunday, September 14, 2003

Marathon season is upon us. Chicago is four weeks away, Baltimore less than five, Marine Corps six and New York City seven.

If you haven’t started training yet, shame on you. Procrastinators still have eight weeks to prepare for our local Montgomery County Marathon in the Parks and 10 weeks to fret before the Philadelphia Marathon.

Wasn’t it nice last week doing those long runs in dry, 70-degree conditions rather than the usual 90-degree, swamp-like days in the Washington area?

The exciting news is that several local marathoners are making Marine Corps their focus on the way to the men’s Olympic marathon trials Feb.7 in Birmingham, Ala. Michael Wardian of Arlington and Glen Mays of the District will be looking for a trials-qualifying 2:22 at Marine Corps. Meanwhile, Aaron Church of South Riding, Va., who qualified with a 2:21:47 at Grandma’s Marathon in June, is looking for a win.

Word on the street is that veteran Peter Sherry of Great Falls, who recently was selected to run a 5K leg for Team USA in the inaugural North American Men’s Relay Championships in Akron, Ohio, Oct.11, is looking for a trials qualifier at Marine Corps, too. So is 2003 Fair Lakes 8K victor Eric Post of Fairfax.

Chris Banks of Alexandria had considered running Marine Corps, but he already has a qualifier (by a mere three seconds at Twin Cities last September) and is planning to avoid marathons until the trials. He has offered, however, to rabbit for the front-runners for part of Marine Corps.

Kenyan transfers citizenship — Lornah Kiplagat turned in her Kenyan citizenship to be with her husband in the Netherlands, where the insurance company ING is headquartered. ING is Kiplagat’s sponsor.

Kiplagat, eighth in New York last year, announced last week that she was running the marathon. A win, combined with her victory at the New York Mini 10K June7 in Central Park, would earn her a $100,000 bonus, in addition to all the other prize money from winning.

According to a source, however, Kiplagat will have to get past 2003 World Championships marathon champ and former world record-holder (2:18:47) Catherine Ndereba, who this week will announce her intention to run. The Kenyan is ranked second only to Britain’s Paula Radcliffe.

Ndereba’s only other appearance in New York was in 1999, when she finished second to Mexico’s Adriana Fernandez. Since 2000, Ndereba has defeated Kiplagat in all three of their head-to-head contests at the marathon distance: at Chicago in 2000 and at Boston in 2000 and 2001. Ndereba has nine weeks to recover from the World Championships.

Jen Rhines also is expected to announce later in the week at a news conference before the Sept.21 Philadelphia Distance Run that she will be running New York. Let’s hope she does better in her second marathon than her 2:41:16 debut at Chicago last year. The 2000 Olympian became the first American woman in nearly 10 years to win the Falmouth Road Race last month.

Army registration closes — Registration for the 19th Army Ten-Miler Oct.5 closed last week at 18,400, according to newly hired Army race official George Banker. He said next year’s date will be Oct.24, one week before Marine Corps.

Banker also made a plea for volunteers to help at next month’s 8 a.m. race. As most of you know, there is a two-day expo at the Crystal Gateway Marriott in Crystal City on Friday and Saturday before race day and plenty of opportunities to work there and/or on the race course. Call Banker at 202/685-3361.

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