- The Washington Times - Sunday, October 10, 2004

Area runners will have another marathon alternative in late winter.

The Chesapeake Bay Running Club recently announced the 26.2-mile Lower Potomac River Marathon for March6. Race organizers will accept 400 entrants on a flat, fast scenic course through Piney Point and St. George Island in St. Mary’s County, along the lower Potomac River.

“We did the finish line of the Potomac River Marathon [on May 2] this year,” said Liza Recto, vice president of the CBRC, an eight-time marathoner as well as race director. “We also observed at that marathon because one day we wanted to organize one of our own. The Lower Potomac River Marathon is a sister race to the Potomac River Marathon.”

Recto said the 8 a.m. race, highlighted by scenery and community involvement, will be sponsored by the Harry Lundeberg School of Seamanship in Piney Point. Entry fees begin at $45 ($35 for CBRC members ) and rise to $75 near race day.

Amenities to all runners include a commemorative Dri-Release T-shirt, finisher’s medal, and post-race food. Race organizers are offering cash awards to the top overall finishers as well as noncash awards to the top three men and women overall and top three men and women in 10-year age groups.

Gray lightning — Ed Whitlock, a 73-year-old Canadian who has been a successful long distance runner for decades, set a world record for ages 70 and older at the Toronto Waterfront Marathon on Sept.26.

His time was 2:54:48, nearly five minutes faster than his record of 2:59:09 at Toronto last year. By WAVA standards, his age-graded result was an astounding 99.97 percent and his age-graded time was 2:06:53, near the world record for all ages for the marathon.

Arlington’s Michael Wardian was about 25 minutes ahead of Whitlock in Toronto. The 30-year-old Wardian was sixth in 2:30:01.

A legend passes — Johnny Kelley left us last week, but somehow he will always be around Boston on Patriots’ Day Monday for the marathon. This endearing man died at age 97, just three hours after entering a nursing home on Cape Cod.

His running career was long and distinguished, but he will surely be remembered forever for his gesture on the famous Heartbreak Hill on the Boston Marathon course.

It was there where Kelley passed race leader Ellison “Tarzan” Brown by the last of the four Newton hills after 22 miles in 1936. He patted Brown on the back as he took the lead, assuming Brown was spent. But Brown did not take kindly to the gesture, soon regained the lead and eventually won as Kelley, heartbroken, faded to fifth. When he was interviewed by a journalist, Kelley recounted his disappointment on the hill, and the next day’s paper referred to that spot on the course as Heartbreak Hill.

That summer Kelley finished 18th in the marathon at the Berlin Olympics. He made the Olympic team again in 1940, but the Games were canceled after Germany invaded Norway. In the 1948 London Olympics, he finished 21st at age 40.

Kelley completed 58 of the 61 Boston Marathons he began, including his last in 5:58:36 in 1992 at age 84. He won it twice — 1935 and 1945 — and was second an amazing seven times.

End note — Olympian Dan Browne has committed to running the 2004 Army Ten-Miler on Oct.24 at the Pentagon. Browne won the race in 1997 and 1998 as a member of the Army’s elite World Class Athletes Program (WCAP).

He set the standard with his victory in 1997, the 13th running of the Army Ten-Miler, by posting the race’s current record of 47:44.

Browne competed in the 10,000 meters and the marathon at the Athens Olympics and is coached by legendary distance runner Alberto Salazar in Portland, Ore.

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