A brilliant fall morning set the stage as 30,000 runners took to the streets in the 33rd Marine Corps Marathon Sunday, with thousands more competing in the Healthy Kids Fun Run and 10k races over the weekend.
City Councilman Justin Wilson was among the nearly 1,000 competitors from Alexandria, running in his first marathon. I have been trying for a few years now to run this race, but this is the first time I have gone through with it, said Wilson, who finished in an impressive 3:30:08 That was more than seven minutes ahead of seasoned marathoner D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty, who finished in 3:37:20. I remember passing Fenty at about the one or two-mile mark, said Wilson. I could tell it was him from his Fleet Feet running gear. That and the two body guards running with him.
Wilson, who chuckled that he is still hurting like hell and having a hard time walking, was pleased with his performance. I am happy with my time, said Wilson, who has been running seriously for about five years. It was exactly my goal.
The local Pacers-Brooks team fared well again this year with Lindsay Wilkins finishing second in the womens race with a time of 2:49:06, a personal record for her and merely 11 seconds behind first-place finisher Cate Fenster of Wooster, Ohio.
Last years second-place finisher, Lisa Thomas of Del Ray, is five months pregnant and decided to sit out this years race at least officially. I did get out there and run about 10 miles on the course just for fun today, said Thomas. It felt great to be out there again.
Also running in his first Marine Corps Marathon was Commonwealth Academy student Andrew Villemarette, who, having just turned 14 in August, was the youngest runner to qualify for the race. Commonwealth Academy is a college prep day school for students with learning differences. Andrew ran the race with his father Raymond, and both finished with a time of 6:01:28.
Alexandrias oldest male competitor was 71-year-old Vitalij Garber, who finished in 4:15:55, while two 67-year-old women represented the city in the race. Nancy Linck ran a 4:53:11 while Jacqueline Bardol finished the 26.2-mile course in 6:12:47. Twenty-one year-old Laura Bloomfield was the citys youngest female runner and came in at 6:00:45.
Top local finishers include Kevin Poole, 25, who ran 2:55:03, followed by John Hannan, 41, at 3:02:42 and Mark Drosky, 48, with 3:04:44.
On the womens side, 27-year-old Lauren Manero came in at 3:00:47, followed by Ofelia Perotti, 52, at 3:18:10, and Blaine Sigety, 27, with 3:19:43.
More than 3,000 kids participated in the Marine Corps Marathon Healthy Kids Fun Run on Saturday in less than perfect weather conditions. Taking place in the parking lot of the Pentagon, individuals and schools from around the region took part in the one-mile just-for-fun untimed race.
Among the schools participating from the area were the veterans from Charles Barrett along with rookie teams from Lyles-Crouch and Hollin Meadow. We just started a running club last year and now we have 160 kids participating, said club founder and Hollin Meadow parent Debra Lane before the race. We have 122 signed up for the Marine Corps Marathon kids race and everyone is excited to be here and maybe win one of the Healthy School awards.
The Marine Corps Marathon presents the Healthy School Award to the top three schools with the largest participation in the Fun Run and Alexandrias Charles Barrett Elementary was one of the award recipients last year. In addition to the award, each of the schools will receive a financial donation from marathon organizers for their physical education programs. Top winners from this years race will be awarded in early 2009.
I thought it was really fun, said Hollin Meadow student Lilly Lane after the Fun Run on Saturday. I got my best time and ran 7:42.
Lillys younger sister Celia added, I really want to do it again next year.
After Sundays race, Wilson was sounding like a veteran marathoner, concurring that the first 20 miles went by pretty easily, but those last six were pretty intense. My family was cheering me on and I had a friend that ran with me for about 12 miles so that got me through.
All in all, both race days were an unforgettable experience for runners and spectators alike. But when asked if he would do it again, Wilson laughed, Thats like asking a woman who has just given birth when she is going to have another baby. But he didnt hesitate to add, I dont intend this to be my last marathon, but I did want my first to be here at home.
For complete race information and results, go to www.marinemarathon.com.