- The Washington Times - Sunday, August 31, 2008

Former elite marathoner Keith Dowling has resigned as the race director of the National Marathon and will start working for Reebok on Sept. 8.

“I will be the Mid-Atlantic running specialty representative,” said Dowling, 39, who was brought in at the helm of the National Marathon for its inaugural 2006 race. “Essentially, my goal is to make sure the Reebok brand is positioned well in our specialty running accounts like Potomac River Running, Gotta Run and Georgetown Running Company.”

Dowling has seen the running industry from many perspectives, first as an elite athlete with a 2:13:28 personal-best marathon (Boston 2002) while running for Adidas, then as a race director who helped bring Reebok and other major sponsors and entrants to his National Marathon.

“Once you’re an athlete, you’ve invested half your life in this industry, like it or not,” said Dowling, who is committed to investing even more in the industry as well as his future, including the local marathon he has nurtured from birth.

“Events are a part of my responsibility, too,” said Dowling, who lives in Reston with wife Michele and daughter Emma. “That’s why I’ll be back at National Marathon. Actually, [Reebok] will be meeting with [marathon officials] in a few weeks to nail down things with the marathon.”

Dowling was instrumental last year in getting the company to sponsor its Reebok Training Group Program, a 20-week coached training regimen now in its second year.

According to Dowling, a three-time all-American at Pitt and two-time Olympic marathon trials qualifier (1996 and 2004), his successor should be named within the next couple of weeks as the third running of the marathon and half marathon on March 21 approaches.

Technological advances - Area runners continue to benefit from road-racing technology. The latest and greatest comes from ChronoTrack Systems, Inc. Capital Running Co. recently purchased the technology, a cost-effective system for timing athletic events, including road races.

No more dealing with chips, which need to be detached from the shoelace and returned post-race and occasionally get lost, stolen or carried away from the race at the expense of the race management company.

“[We’re] excited about our new timing system, ChronoTrack,” said Kathy Freedman of Capital Running Co., a race management company. “It uses a disposable chip attached to the bib. Runners peel the tag off the bib, tie it on their shoelaces and then walk away with it at the finish. It has so many advantages over the ChampionChip.”

For you techies out there, ChronoTrack has developed the disposable “D” Tag, an all-weather design for attaching an EPC global-certified, commercially available RFID (radio-frequency identification) tag to the foot. This technology has been in other uses for decades. In its debut with Capital Running at the YMCA Loudoun County Leesburg 10K & 20K races Aug. 10, there were rave reviews.

“The ChronoTrack system worked flawlessly,” said Freedman, adding that there were 1,560 registrants for the two races. “We liked it, and I think the runners did, too. It is so nice not having to deal with collecting, stringing [and] scanning chips any more. Not to mention tracking down the scofflaws who walk off with the chips.”

Capital Running Co, had used the ChampionChip timing system since the 1998 St. Patrick’s Day 10K.

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