- The Washington Times - Sunday, September 14, 2008

The Baltimore Running Festival, which includes its 8-year-old marathon, continues to pick up steam.

This year, race officials expect 17,000 total participants in the 5K, half marathon, marathon and four-person marathon relays.

Last year’s event brought in a record 14,542.

With the festival Oct. 11, the half marathon and marathon relays already have sold out, according to spokesman Gene Brtalik of race organizer Corrigan Sports Enterprises.

The half marathon reached capacity for the sixth straight year. This year 7,500 people registered with more than 350 runners on the waiting list.

“We filled out the 750 teams for the marathon relay,” Brtalik said. “Once the marathon sells out, people will start filling the 5K.”

According to the race Web site Saturday there are fewer than 75 spots left in the marathon.

Brtalik said the marathon course will virtually remain the same this year.

Headed for Italy - USA Track and Field recently named Arlington resident Michael Wardian to the 2008 USA 100-kilometer team that will compete in the International Association of Ultra Runners 100 Kilometer World Cup on Nov. 8 in Tarquinia, Italy.

In more understandable terms, 100 kilometers is 62.1 miles or 248 1/2 laps around the neighborhood track.

Wardian, 34, earned an automatic qualifier by winning the 2008 USA 100-kilometer National Championships at the Mad City 100-kilometer in 6 hours, 56 minutes, 57 seconds.

Also selected for the team is popular runner/race director Mike Spinnler of Hagerstown, Md., who will serve as assistant team leader. Spinnler has been the race director of the JFK 50 Mile, America’s oldest, and largest ultra marathon since 1993.

Upset at the Paralympics - Henry Wanyoike took an uncharacteristic third in the Paralympic 5,000 meters last week in Beijing. The 34-year-old blind Kenyan had won the event in 2000 and 2004, both in Paralympic record times. In 2000, he had to drag his guide around the last four laps because he ran so fast. In 2004, he set the world record of 15:11.07 in the Athens Paralympics, just months after placing 24th overall in the Boston Marathon (2:33:20). He set the marathon world record of 2:31:31 for a totally blind athlete in 2005.

Wanyoike had lost his sight in 1995 after suffering a stroke. Initially, he lost 95 percent of his vision, then gradually lost his remaining sight over the next few years.

Meanwhile, the Chinese had won 130 medals - 49 gold - as of Saturday. Great Britain ranked second with 82 and the United States followed with 66.

Time off - The Road Runners Club of America founded the National Run to Work Day in 1997 to get runners to run to and from work. While the event succeeded in cities with well-developed pedestrian networks and mass transit, in other areas running to work wasn’t so feasible for most of the working population. This year the event will take place Friday.

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