AVON GREETS SUVOROVA
BY GEORGE BANKER
BALTIMORE, MD--Avon placed the call and the most competitive field in three years answered for the Avon Running--Baltimore 10K and 5K (September 10, 2000). The momentum started to build from the horn. Every race brings a new opportunity.
"In the first mile I thought the leaders would come back, you can tell, but they didn't. It's easier being the underdog and the new prize money did help. I've been taking medication for a sinus infection and I had no energy at the start. Naoko always goes out hard. I thought about dropping out, but it was too far to walk back," said Alisa Harvey, of Manassas, VA, a two-time winner ('98--35:44 record, '99--36:06).
"I'm glad to see Avon put in prize money. It helps those athletes who try to make money and keep training. All women enjoy the fitness," added Harvey.
Close to 1,200 women participated in the 5K and 10K. "Avon Running has made many friends over the past three years in Baltimore. This year we are proud to support Women Entrepreneurs of Baltimore (WEB), an organization that enables women to reach their goals and achieve their greatest potential," stated Kathrine Switzer, Program Director of Avon Running. Two checks totaling $7,500 were presented to WEB.
The purse was $1,000 in cash awards, and three round-trip all-expenses-paid trips to the Avon National Championship in December in Phoenix for the first overall finisher, first Masters, and first 10K Avon Representative.
The course was two miles within the downtown area, near the Inner Harbor, through Federal Hill, and up to Fort McHenry, the turnaround point. The 5K covered a portion of the same course.
From the start, the temperature was 73 degrees and humid with a light breeze. Naoko Ishibe, of Washington, took to the front with Carole Zajac, of Pittsburgh, PA, and Irina Suvorova, of Russia now living in Rockville, MD, a 2:33 marathoner. Suvorova had taken first in the Starlight 5K held the day before in Alexandria, VA, with 17:59. Suvorova took second (1:29:48) at the Charleston Distance Classic 15-Mile Run (September 2).
The trio went through the first mile in 5:31 with Zajac and Ishibe sharing the lead and Suvorova one step back. Trailing in fourth was Connie Buckwalter, of Lancaster, PA--a third place finisher in 1998 (36:30). Harvey was trailing by 25 meters, followed by Patty Fulton, of Silver Spring, MD, and Jill Hargis, of Annapolis, MD.
At the 25th Annapolis 10-Mile Run, Hargis was first (1:01:30), Buckwalter, the defending champion, was second (1:10:52), and Fulton was third with 1:10:52. Hargis celebrated her 40th birthday on September 5.
Into the second mile, 11:06 (5:35), it was Ishibe and Suvorova. Zajac started to fall off the pace. It was down to a two-person race with Ishibe dictating the pace. The two passed three miles in 16:43. Zajac was 25 meters back, with Harvey another 25 meters back, and Buckwalter 50 meters off the leaders, but closing in on Harvey.
Into the fourth mile 22:34 (5:51), Ishibe and Suvorova had lost contact with the rest of the runners. They were matching strides. Briefly off a turn, Suvorova cut hard on the inside and took the lead. Ten meters later, Ishibe was back in control. The turning point came at mile five, 28:24 (5:50). Suvorova surged to take the lead but Ishibe responded and covered the move. Suvorova responded with another surge. Ishibe was not able to cover the move. Suvorova took control and began to pick the pace up and was under the course record time of 35:44 set in 1998 by Harvey.
Suvorova went on to win with a new event record of 35:07, $500 prize, and the trip to Phoenix. Ishibe collected $250 for second place with 35:45. Zajac collected $150 for third with 35:55. Buckwalter was fourth with 36:55 and Harvey was fifth with 37:15.
"I prefer longer distances and I like the coed races because it's easier to pick it up when someone is in front of you. This is my third race in the U.S. If the pace was faster I could have gone faster. My best 10K time was 32:53 in Paris in 1998," said Suvorova through an interpreter.
"I didn't know who Irina was but she looked good. The first mile I wanted to keep it honest, around 5:30. If a couple of people went with me we could trade off the lead. I figured someone would try to make a break around the 8K mark and she had more than I did," said Ishibe.
"It was tough for me today, the humidity caught up with me, I kept an even pace. The first mile was a conservative pace. It was slower than I did a week ago, 5:05. By mile three I had nothing in my legs. This was one of those races where I gave it a good effort. You have to take the good with the bad," said Zajac.
"I was a 1995 RRCA Roads Scholar. The organization is wonderful for the running community. I never like to give up in a race. I tried to maintain my pace and to keep going. It's nice to have a series to encourage women and young girls to run. Avon does a wonderful job, it's all well organized," added Zajac.
Hargis was first Masters with 37:32 and collected $150 and the trip to Phoenix. The Masters record was set in 1998 by Lee DiPietro at 36:57.
"It was a tough race. I went out a little too fast and was going with the leaders. At mile four Patty pulled away. I felt kind of dead. It's a great event. I won the event in Atlanta in 1998 (36:20). I'll be going to Phoenix," said Hargis.
"It went well. My strategy was to stay with Jill. She's a conservative runner and we pushed each other. It's hard to run on your own. Given the weather, I'm pleased," said Fulton.
Judy Walls, of Piedmont, SC, was the first Avon Representative with 39:32 and will be headed for Phoenix. Walls was first in 1998 in Atlanta (41:42), and 1999 in Atlanta (39:50).
Doralie Seagal, age 70, of Arlington, took first in the age group 65-69 in 1998 (56:18) and 1999 (55:02) and has added first in the 70-74 age group with 1:01:41.
Hedy Marque, age 83, of Alexandria, a nationally ranked runner, finished with 1:09:40. "I can't run anymore. I'm giving it up. My time was discouraging. I run these because my daughter, Marjorie, brings me. Most people stop when they get older. The race is fine here and I don't like running in the city streets. I like the all women's races. It seems that the men are more aggressive. The size of this race was big enough," said Marque.
Marque holds the single age record for ages 72 (50:43), 73 (50:29), 79 (55:57), 80 (56:17), and 81 (56:36).
Honorary Event Co-Chair, Baltimore City Councilwoman Catherine Pugh, participated in the race and finished with 51:04.
"I got involved in the race because of Avon. I came out here to cheer but found out I was registered to run. I have been running for 15 years, about an hour a day. I enjoyed it and saw a lot of old friends. I just wanted to maintain an even 8-minute pace. I have completed two marathons, 3:19 and 3:09," said Pugh.
Donna Moore, of Silver Spring, MD, a two-time winner of the Marine Corps Marathon, took ninth with 38:04. Last year, Moore was 10th with 38:47.
"I felt pretty strong, the humidity took it's toll. I tried to run hard the whole time. I felt strong at the finish and it was the best that I could do today," said Moore.
The honeymoon was put on hold for newlywed Megan Kearney, of Ellicott City, MD. Kearney ran in the 5K while husband, Kevin, cheered from the sidelines. Kearney's time was 36:21. Kearney is RRCA's marketing and communications director along with being the editor of FootNotes.
Freddi Carlip, President of the RRCA, finished the 5K in a time of 27:18 (15th overall).
1. Irina Suvorova 35:07*
* New Record
1. Jill Hargis 37:32
1. Judy Walls 39:32
14 and Under
1. Rebecca Hesselbacher 1:06:40
1. Deborah Green 44:48
1. Laura Nelson 38:52
1. Irina Suvorova 35:07
1. Naoko Ishibe 35:45
1. Donna Moore 38:04
1. Jill Hargis 37:32
1. Ellie Murphy 45:46
1. Esther Buchser 47:33
1. Judith Gilbert 50:03
1. Heidi Moebius 54:43
1. Doralie Segal 1:01:41
1. Hedy Marque 1:09:40
1. Catizone/Archar 1:34:17