- The Washington Times - Sunday, February 17, 2008

During the Cherry Blossom 10 Mile Run in 1983 when Greg Meyer surprised teammate Bill Rodgers with a decisive early lead, Meyer approached Hains Point, looked to his right and saw an ugly mass of cast aluminum rising from the ground, then looked ahead at the press truck and threw his arms in the air.

“What the HECK is THAT?” he called aloud to the journalists in front of him.

THAT was and still is “The Awakening,” a sculpture of a heavily bearded man seemingly half-buried in the ground.

The eye-catcher was just three years old at the time.

Now, nearly 28 years after its birth, the statue that has watched millions of runners, walkers, cyclists, inline skaters, tourists, dogs and virtually anything else that has circled Hains Point in the past three decades will grimace at East Potomac Park until Wednesday.

After that, the famous statue will welcome visitors to nearby National Harbor, courtesy of a $750,000 purchase by National Harbor developer Milt Peterson.

Wirefly out, SunTrust in — When you see the advertisements for SunTrust National Marathon and Half Marathon, don’t get excited that a new marathon is on the District’s spring running calendar.

The National Marathon has just landed a new title sponsor.

“They’ve committed for this year,” race director Keith Dowling said of one of the nation’s largest banking organizations. “But it’s an ongoing discussion. I’m pretty optimistic that they will be multiyear sponsors.”

SunTrust’s involvement in the March 29 event should benefit the marathon and half-marathon. The bank is title sponsor of the Richmond Marathon and supports the Rock ‘N’ Roll Half Marathon in Virginia Beach as well.

The bank boasts more than 230 branches in the D.C. area.

“I know there are a lot of branches on our course, which is good,” Dowling noted.

But will they be open on race day for pit stops?

Young gems — Montgomery County Road Runners Club had its annual awards dinner last Sunday at the Rockville Hilton.

In an effort to promote and encourage youth, the club for the first time recognized the Outstanding High School Runners (male and female) of the year with $1,000 college scholarships.

Morgane Gay was presented Outstanding High School Female Runner because of her two state championships and several Montgomery County records while competing for Whitman High.

She has signed a letter of intent to compete at Virginia.

William Orndorff was chosen Outstanding High School Male Runner.

Orndorff has been the captain and number one runner for Rockville High cross country team during the past two years while winning every divisional race during that period.

He placed seventh at the 2A Regional West cross country meet and 14th at the 2A state cross country meet in 2007. He is not yet sure which college he will represent in the fall.

TV time — The event held yesterday will be televised in association with the USA Indoor Track & Field Championships on Feb. 24 from 5 to 7 p.m. on ESPN2.

Running fans can see the Spirit of the Marathon Encore on Feb. 21 at 7:30 p.m. at one of many participating movie theaters in the D.C. area.

There are several Virginia locations, one District site and a couple in nearby Maryland. Find your theater at fathomevents.com.

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