BY GEORGE R. BANKER
SPARKS, MD--"I have family here and they told me about this race. Today I set a PR, my old was 2:48. At mile 20 I knew that I could break my PR. I just wanted to run at a set pace and to run relaxed. We started out as a pack of six then down to four and then down to two. At the turnaround I caught the second place runner. At mile 20 I could see the leader and I started to catch up to him," said Bryan Garrido, age 27, of Dingman's Ferry, PA. Garrido was the winner of the 11th Northern Central Trail Marathon on Saturday, November 25, 2000.
The race started at Sparks Elementary School and went for less than two miles over paved road to the converted railroad line--Northern Central Trail. The tree-lined course was serene. The finish line was on the trail. The temperature was ideal, low 50s with no wind and overcast. The course going out had a gradual upgrade and a downgrade on the return. The race closed at 500 registered runners. A record number of 323 finished. Each year the race has been steadily growing, with 88 females in 2000. There were 30 states represented and 27 runners from Canada. The race was conducted by the Baltimore Road Runners Club.
Joanna Zeiger, of Baltimore, MD, the record holder (1998--2:47:25) and the female leader, was chasing the lead pack of six men which quickly dissipated to four. A little over a mile back was Angela Plamondon, of Ottawa, holding in second place. Plamondon could not be missed along the course with her bright, multicolored tights. She was a point of conversation among the runners as she passed by. She was part of the "Canadian Connection."
In the Olympic women's triathlon trials last May, Zeiger finished second with 2:06:17 (.9 swim--19:58, 24.8-mile bike--1:06:50, and 10K run--38:00) to secure the second berth on the U.S. Olympic team. Zeiger competed in the 2000 Olympic Marathon Trials last February and qualified in 1998 and 1992 for the trials in swimming.
Zeiger took fourth place at the Olympics in the triathlon, in a time of 2:01:25.74. At the transition from the bike to the run, Zeiger was one of 15 into the area and was one of seven who led for the run. In the last mile, in the 10K run, Zeiger began to lose contact with the leaders.
At the turnaround, Bryan Garrido caught sight of Daniel Kelliher, of Ithaca, NY. It took about seven miles before Garrido was in a position where he had the chance to take the lead. It was down to a two-person race.
Zeiger had moved up in the field and was in third place overall in the race and very much in the hunt for the lead.
In the last couple of miles, Garrido made the decisive move to take the lead and Kelliher could not cover the move. It was 2:42:00 to 2:43:39. Thomas Haine, of Baltimore, MD, was third in 2:50:21.
Zeiger took her second win in 2:49:06 and remained third overall. Zeiger has the two fastest winning times in the history of the race. Plamondon was second in 3:02:34 and Julie Deutschmann, of Columbia, MD, was third in 3:16:47.
"I came here because of word of mouth from other runners. They had lots of good feedback. I wanted to get a PR. My old was 3:09. I had the biggest smile across my face when I crossed the finish line. The fan support was good. I didn't expect that much along the trail," said Plamondon.
Patti DePaulis, 46, of Fayetteville, NY, was first female Masters in 3:20:59 (5th) and Dorothy Beckett, 43, of Columbia, MD, was second in 3:21:12 (6th).
"Quitting and slacking off is for losers. I was going after a 4:05. I'm incredibly happy. I only had three hours of sleep. I drove here from Nebraska. This is my 7th marathon since October 14. At mile 20 I had 2:55 and I thought I had a chance to break four hours. At mile 22, I had a 9-minute mile. I have run in 45 states," said Tom Detore, 52, of Unadilla, NE, finishing in 3:50:06.
Marcie Knapp, 38, of New Castle, PA, has been a consistent runner over the last five years; a fourth place finish in 3:20:09. Knapp's times: '99--3:14:18 (5th), '98--3:16:57 (3rd), '97--3:21:12 (8th), and '96--3:26:27.
There were 43 teams registered with each running a half-marathon leg. Team Outback made a comeback to take first in the men's division with a total time of 3:15:02. The members: Tim Kennedy (1:35:11) and Chuck Wienckowski (1:39:51). Last year they were second in 3:02:06.
Team Amazon showed dominance by setting a new record of 3:09:14 in the women's division. Mary Beth Cochran took the first half out in 1:32:41 and Tracey Tucker brought it home in 1:36:33. The old record was 3:15:08 ('98, Vicki Boyer--1:29:40, Traci Kann--1:45:28).
The COED division saw a new record (2:48:50) by the husband and wife team of Patricia Keating (1:31:13) and Paul (1:17:37). Team PK was the overall winner of all divisions. The old record was 2:52:25 ('97 by Natchez Trace, Jim Adams, and Donna Simmons).