- The Washington Times - Sunday, October 9, 2005

At the Army Ten-Miler seven days ago, thousands of runners and spectators found out what has been the case since the first road race was run on dirt streets in America more than a hundred years ago: Race directors do not have ultimate control of their races. The local police do.

In a country deemed safe by our leaders, we live in a time when runners must pass through metal detectors to gain entry onto a course, as if they were boarding an airplane. The lines for makeshift security gates are greater than the lines for the porta-johns.

This is an age when a trained police dog actually was instructed to sniff my hybrid bicycle before I was cleared to cover a road race.

It’s an era when public officials immediately will err on the side of safety. An unattended package is as good as a dirty bomb. Close the 14th Street Bridge first. Ask questions later.

Where does this leave the race directors of our most guarded cities like Washington? Where does this leave Jim Vandak of the Army Ten-Miler, who last Sunday morning set into motion a certified, sanctioned road race that ultimately became a recreational fun run?

For all the responsibility Vandak has had over his field of thousands during nearly a decade at the helm, for all the authority he wields one Sunday morning in October of every year, the truth is he is powerless.

We saw that Sunday.

Citing security concerns, the D.C. Metropolitan Police shut down the 14th Street Bridge, which erased much of the last two of Vandak’s 10 miles of pavement.

Quick thinking kept the race alive. The key word is “alive.” The runners show up for a 10-mile race and end up running 11.2 or so.

Live to run another day. Amazing how just 371 days later, there will be another Army Ten-Miler — we hope.

Even after the Army canceled on the heels of September11 in 2001, even after the Army nearly sacked the race with the sniper on the loose in 2002, there still was an Army Ten-Miler this year. The race has persevered, and so will its participants.

Bailey goes to trials — Mary Kate Bailey of Arlington was the only area runner to qualify for the 2008 Olympic Marathon trials at the Twin Cities Marathon last weekend in Minnesota.

Bailey’s 2:46:03 marathon time surpassed the 2:47:00 “B” standard and placed her 10th among the women.

It was another breakthrough personal best race for the 30-year-old, who won Marine Corps last year in 2:48:31.

Susannah Kvasnicka of Great Falls narrowly missed a qualifier with a 2:47:57, while Washington Running Club vice president Genevieve Kiley was close, too, in 2:48:13.

Kvasnicka took more than six minutes off her time from Chicago in 2002.

“I am disappointed [about missing the qualifier] but am trying not to dwell on it too much,” Kvasnicka said. “We had very bad marathoning weather in Minnesota, and I just wasn’t prepared for it. I was not good with my hydration during the race and suffered the last six miles because of it.

“I was sick and dry heaving on and off from mile 20 and did not know if I would finish. Once I did, I was taken to the medical tent by wheelchair. I had a temp of 103 and was severely dehydrated. They believe that I had heat exhaustion. I had hoped to run in the low 2:40s and believe that I would have on a cool dry day.”

Will she rest up and recover from Twin Cities in the coming weeks?

“Believe it or not, I am signed up for Marine Corps [in three weeks],” Kvasnicka admitted. “My recovery would have to go amazingly well for me to do that, but you never know. I actually don’t feel bad physically. My legs are in decent shape.”

Kiley has been to the Olympic trials before, using her personal best 2:44:36 at the 2003 St. George Marathon in Utah to participate in the 2004 Olympic marathon trials in St. Louis, where the 31-year-old Park City, Utah, transplant now living in Arlington finished 49th in 2:47:33.

No male was close to the 2:22:00 qualifier. Chris Banks, a 2004 Olympic trials participant from Alexandria, was under the qualifier through a 1:10:38 half, but he slowed dramatically during the second half of the course, especially the last 10 kilometers, to finish in 2:35:48.

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