First Frederick Marathon starting to come together

February 11, 2003|by ANDREW MASON

Think you're in shape to run from Hagerstown to Frederick?

If so, you might want to think about driving to Frederick on March 30 for the inaugural Frederick Marathon.

While it may be a bit too late to start training for it, there's still plenty of time to sign up. More than 200 runners have already registered for the 26.2-mile challenge, and registration will remain open through March 29.

"It's all coming together and it's looking pretty good," said race director Dave Cooley. "I think it's going to be a good event."

The event also offers a "friendlier" option - a four-person relay, which has legs of 4.3, 7.5, 10.6 and 3.8 miles. More than 100 relay teams have already registered, bringing the current total field to 600-plus participants.


"Anybody of whatever ability," Cooley said, "can run part of it as a relay member."

He said the majority of applications are coming in from Maryland, Virginia, Pennsylvania, Delaware and the District of Columbia.

Cooley, who's also directed the first two Baltimore marathons the last two years, said the race's selling point is its scenery. The double-loop course features both the city's historic downtown district and its outlying countryside.

"It's a great location and a scenic course," he said. "It's also relatively fast. It's a rolling course, but it's not hilly. The elevation change from start to finish is less than 100 feet."

To attract elite athletes, the marathon is also offering an undetermined amount of prize money for the top three overall men and women and the first male and female masters runners.

"We've already got a couple pretty good runners coming in," said Cooley. "We've got a 2:10 and a 2:12 marathoner coming in. They're both Kenyans."

Of course, attracting runners of all abilities will be the key to turning the Frederick Marathon into a prospering annual race.

"As for growth potential, it all depends on how well you do your last one," said Cooley. "I see a lot of growth potential. This year we'll hit over 300 runners and 120-plus relay teams, and I just see it going up from there."

The Frederick Marathon does have its work cut out for it, though, trying to lure away runners from the annual mid-March Shamrock (Virginia Beach) and D.C. marathons and the Boston Marathon in mid-April.

But Cooley doesn't seem overly concerned about the competition.

"(The D.C. Marathon) doesn't have the scenery and ambiance that Frederick has," said Cooley.

"People look for destination marathons - events to go to in different states - and I think that's the niche we're going to fit into."

The Frederick Marathon, open to individuals 16 and older, is sanctioned by the Road Runners Club of America and is USATF course certified.

For more information, contact Cooley at 410-377-8882, e-mail him at or visit the marathon's Web site at

Other upcoming runs

  • March 1 - Run for the Pie 10K and 1-Mile Fun Run, 9 a.m., at the C&O Canal Towpath in Brunswick. For more information, contact Jim Lowrie at 717-642-0196.

  • March 15 - Fourth annual St. Patrick's Day 5K and 1K Kids Run, 9 a.m., at Boonsboro High School, which benefits Boonsboro High's track & field program. For more information e-mail Jason Orendi at

  • March 15 - 24th annual Chambersburg Half Marathon, 9:30 a.m., at Chambersburg Area Middle School, which for the first time has prize money and ChampionChip Timing. For more information, contact Suzanne Eyer at 717-263-9426, e-mail the Chambersburg Road Runners Club at or visit the club's Web site at

Andy Mason is a staff writer for The Herald-Mail. His running column appears every other Sunday. He can be reached at 301-733-5131, ext. 2334, or by e-mail at

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