- The Washington Times - Monday, August 30, 2004

ANNAPOLIS — Two U.S. Marines from Quantico took to Navy territory yesterday, commanding the streets around Maryland’s capital and the U.S. Naval Academy. Alex Hetherington and Mary Kate Bailey patiently stalked their competition and ended up surprisingly taking the men’s and women’s races at the 29th Annapolis Ten Mile Run.

Hetherington and Bailey, both in their debut races at Annapolis, waited and baked in the high heat and humidity for nine miles before charging to victory, Hetherington in 56 minutes, 15 seconds and Bailey in 61:42.

Joe Racine (56:27) of Rosslyn and defending champion Susannah Kvasnicka (60:56) did much of the work before succumbing and finishing second in their respective divisions.

“This was a real surprise,” said a thrilled Hetherington, a 37-year-old Team Marine member who has long represented the Corps in the Marine Corps Marathon. He will run there for the 11th time later this year. “I thought I’d be in the top 10, with guys like Joe Racine and Jim Hage ahead of me as usual.

“This is the kind of day you dream of. It was one of those rare days.”

Bailey, who lives in Arlington and is training to become the first active-duty female Marine to win its marathon, said she, too, was surprised with the triumph. The 29-year-old is coming back after giving birth last year to her first child.

“I know Susannah. I’ve been in races with her before,” she said, referring to the July4 Cure Autism Now 5K in D.C., where Kvasnicka was seven seconds faster.

As 27-year-old Racine so eloquently put it, “On a day like this, the weather is a great equalizer.”

But it was typical weather conditions for Annapolis, known for its brutal temperatures. Last year was an exception, but this year’s 4,500 starters were in for a sweaty time.

Hage, a two-time winner, proceeded with caution in the early miles.

The 46-year-old Kensington resident led at the start at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium and around the Capitol building and the historic district before crossing the arching bridge over the Severn River.

He passed the midpoint in 27:31, with Racine looking strong just eight seconds back and Hetherington and another veteran, 52-year-old Chuck Moeser, still in contention.

Kvasnicka gained control of the women’s race by three miles, with Bailey in contact. Kvasnicka completed the first five miles in 30:06, but Bailey was just three seconds back.

Bailey, a 1998 Naval Academy graduate, finally overtook Kvasnicka on the return trip over the bridge and quickly started to pull away from the defending champion.

“Mary Kate passed me near mile nine, and I had nothing left and she looked strong,” Kvasnicka said. “She ran a great race.”

Racine had a similar experience at nine miles, where he led by a scant five seconds. The 6-foot-3, 185-pound Hetherington was just too strong, flying past with a little more than a half-mile left.

“At the top of the bridge [with a little more than a mile to go], I thought I would win,” said Hetherington, who had the slowest winning time since 1977. “He wasn’t going any faster.”

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