The Crowd Stands and Cheers
for Kartalia, Miller, and Cubs

BY KEVIN SPRADLIN

WESTMINSTER, MD--Go Chicago! That’d be what the late Dave Herlocker likely would have been shouting, sitting in his old five-bedroom home on Scott Drive in Westminster, on Saturday night when his dear but wayward Cubbies clinched the National League Central Division. It’s probable Badie, his lovable mixed-breed black and white mutt, would have been by Dave’s favorite chair waiting for her next piece of popcorn or Hershey’s Kiss, whichever Dave happened to fancy that evening.

But there would have been little time to celebrate Chicago’s pennant. Herlocker, always an early riser, likely would have been first on the scene on Sunday, September 21 for the 26th annual Bachman Valley Half-Marathon at Bachman Valley Farms. It was the first edition run in memory of Herlocker, who died in March at the age of 67.

And based on the race at hand, even old Dave could have put the Cubs on the backburner of his mind to watch fellow Bachman Valley area resident Steve Kartalia lead the record field of 171 finishers (a record 194 registered) to a victory win in 1 hour, 13 minutes and 50 seconds. He averaged 5:38.1 per mile over the two-loop course north of Westminster.

Kartalia, 43, lowered his male Masters course record by 75 seconds. It was the second straight year that the 1992 Olympic Trials qualifier at 10,000 meters lowered his own record by 50 seconds or more.

Tim Smith, 37, of Glenelg, was second in 1:18:46 and Christian Libdan, a 2008 Westminster High School graduate, was third in 1:21:44. If it wasn’t for an unfortunate call from Nature, Libdan might have challenged Smith for second. But the cornfield pit stop put the youngest runner in the top 10 out of synch.

Even though Kartalia has little, if anything, to prove to the Mid-Atlantic running community, he finished a self-disappointing 23rd overall in July’s Spirit of Gettysburg 5K in 16:32 (5:20 pace). He was eighth in 15:56 in 2007.

Kartalia said before the race that effort motivated him to put his training into high gear in preparation for his October 11th Baltimore Marathon. Kartalia said he’s in the best shape he’s been in going back at least a decade.

Dee Miller, 42, of Conestoga, Pa., paced the women’s field by stopping the clock in 1:33:42?only 36 seconds off the women’s Masters record set in 2004 by Laura DeWald. Defending champion Susan Conklin, 37, was second in 1:34:30, 2:29 faster than her winning time in 2007.

Karen Young, 40, won the women’s Masters division in 1:47:39. Doug Kuderna was the first 40-and-over finisher not surnamed Kartlia. Kuderna was fourth overall in 1:21:58.

The first batch of the evergreen-colored, long-sleeve race shirts were sold out but Beth Weisenborn, race director, is willing to place a second order. Shirts are still $10 a piece. E-mail her at wrrc.web@gmail.com.