- The Washington Times - Monday, March 15, 2004

Philippe Rolly was back in town yesterday for the St. Patrick’s Day 10K in downtown Washington, and he again sped to victory. But this time it wasn’t easy.

Rolly, who won plenty of races in the Washington area when he lived here from 1999 to 2001, turned back a determined Michael Wardian of Arlington with a dazzling kick for the last 500 meters to win in 30:49. Wardian finished in 30:55, a personal record by seven seconds.

While the men’s race was close, Heather Hanscom made sure early the women’s race wouldn’t be. The Annandale resident quickly put 17 seconds on two-time defending champion Casey Smith of Arlington and increased her lead to 45 seconds by the 5-kilometer mark on way to a time of 34:13.

“That was a 38 second PR,” Hanscom said. “I didn’t know [how far ahead I was], didn’t care. I was just focusing on my race. I had a lot of guys to run with.”

Her focus is on the U.S. Women’s Olympic Marathon Trials in St. Louis in 20 days. Hanscom, 26, qualified in the fall with a 2:37:59 at the Marine Corps Marathon.

Yesterday she finished 1:18 ahead of the 24-year-old Smith, who burst onto the local scene here in 2001 with her first victory. Last year Smith triumphed in 35:41, and the emerging Hanscom was third in 36:00.

The race had a record 5,400 entrants and 4,440 finishers.

Rolly, the affable Frenchman who befriended many area runners when he lived here, remembered a different, much slower Wardian when they raced a few years ago.

“I was nowhere near him then,” the 29-year-old Wardian conceded.

But when the two reached the Air & Space Museum near the halfway point, Wardian still had a lead on Rolly.

“When I was here three years ago, he wasn’t a good runner,” Rolly said. “I saw that he went from a 2:45 marathon to 2:21. I wasn’t sure if he was better than me in a 10K.”

It became a two-man race at the halfway point. Rolly first surged at the 4-mile mark and passed Wardian. Looking annoyed, Wardian dashed back into the lead within seconds.

“I thought I had him,” Wardian said.

Rolly was content to stay 10 meters behind until they turned onto Pennsylvania Avenue, within sight of the finish line. When they reached Sixth Street NW, six blocks from the finish, Rolly drew along side and then ahead. Wardian responded and passed him with less than half a mile to go.

“I shot him down three times,” Wardian said.

Rolly took a final shot with 500 meters to go. He passed Wardian and finished six seconds ahead. After his win, Rolly said he might be coming back to the area.

“I really want to move back here,” he said. “I don’t like New York. I love D.C., and my wife [a lawyer] is tired of working all the hours. So we may be moving back here.”

Kyle Smits of Washington finished third.

Mark Malander, 46, of Oak Hill, Va., edged local masters favorite Chuck Moeser, 52, of Sterling, Va., by three seconds in 33:52. Patti Shull, 45, of Ashburn, Va., took the masters honors for the women in 38:59, placing 11th overall.

cTop finishers, C16

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