Monday, May 01, 2006

Michale Wardian Wins Marathon!!!!

 GO MIKE GO!!!!!
FREDERICK -- Sunday dawned cool and cloudy, perfect weather for running 26.2 miles. 
Eight hundred runners did just that in the Frederick Marathon -- with another 2,000 running a half-marathon or relay. 
The marathoners were led by Michael Wardian, 32, of Arlington, Va., who set a course record with his time of two hours 26 minutes 43 seconds. 
David Swope, 39, of New Windsor, won the wheelchair division in 2:26:52. Kristin Van Eron, 34, of Timonium, won the women's race with a time of 2:57:16. 
Cash prizes of $500 went to Mr. Wardian and Ms. Van Eron. Two hours after Mr. Wardian crossed the finish line, runners were still finishing at Harry Grove Stadium in Frederick. When the course closed after six hours, most had finished. 
Runners were taken on a tour of Frederick, traveling up Market Street and out Opossumtown Pike to Hayward Road, back through downtown and out New Design Road, along Ballenger Creek Pike and Elmer Derr Road before veering back toward the stadium. About 2,800 people signed up for the marathon, half-marathon and four-person team relay. 
Mr. Wardian, his hair clasped in a ponytail, looked rested seconds after he crossed the finish line. "I love coming here," he said. Two weeks ago, he ran the Boston Marathon and finished 44th overall, out of a field of 20,000 runners. He is also fresh off victories in the National Marathon, the Ocean City Marathon and the Shamrock Marathon, all in the last two months. 
He plans to run the Vermont City Marathon on May 28. He is hoping to run faster than 2:22:00, the time he needs to qualify for the Olympic trials. 
In training, Mr. Wardian runs close to 100 miles per week, although he said that might change. He and his wife are expecting their first child in June. 
He started running in college to stay in shape for lacrosse. "I ran only because I had to," he said. But his times started to get faster, and after college, he traded his lacrosse shorts for running shorts. 
Ms. Van Eron, mother of three and stepmother of two more children, finds the time to train between motherhood and her job as a computer programmer. "It was a really good course," she said. "I always go out too fast, but this time I ran a smart race. It was a PR (personal record). 
"It's not a flat course, but it's flatter than other courses I've ran," she said. 
Mr. Swope said wheelchair racers were added to the Frederick Marathon late, but he hopes it will become a part of the race next year. "I was held back a little because of traffic stops," he said. "It's a fast, fun course." 
Mr. Swope only began racing last fall. He plans to race the Baltimore, Marine Corps and New York marathons this fall. 
Dickson Mercer, of Frederick, finished second overall and was the top Frederick County finisher. 
A different dream 
Besides the marathon, half-marathon and team relay, this year's marathon also had another element. Larry Herman, assistant race director, created Running Down a Dream, a way for people in wheelchairs to experience the course. 
Runners took turns pushing people through sections of the course. Mary Zielinski, of New Market, teamed up with Linda Boring, Kelly Volovar, Jamie Aliveto, Suzanne Lewis and Bruce Attavian to push two men from United Cerebral Palsy along five miles of the course. 
"They had a blast," Ms. Zielinski said. Their names were Walter and Jimmy, and they were vocal. "Jimmy would yell, and he'd high-five people," she said. "They were competitive. They didn't want to be passed." 
One of the wheelchairs was a bit awkward, she said, like pushing a grocery cart with the wheel out of whack. But the runners kept them going. "Next year, we'd like to get a couple of race chairs," she said. 
At the end, those being wheeled got T-shirts and medals. One of the teams was a group of students from Urbana High School who pushed a fellow student. 
The marathon attracted 200 more runners than last year. Next year, race director Rachel Ridgway hopes the marathon will attract 1,000 runners. 
"It's become a big-time marathon," said Mr. Herman. He said he thinks the variety attracts runners. "I've been to races where you run through the city and to races where you run through the country. For this race, you run through downtown, through the park, past farmland." 
The Frederick Marathon is Frederick's biggest sporting event, he said. "I think anyone from Frederick who is watching is proud of Frederick today," he said. 
Happy Feet!
Lisa Smith-Batchen

1 comment:

steve speirs said...

Great race report. Michael Wardian is a machine. 4 wins out of 6 marathon starts in 2006 - amazing!