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Ultramarathon director requests road closure

February 22, 2006|by TARA REILLY

tarar@herald-mail.com

The director of the JFK 50 Mile ultramarathon has asked the state to close 2.8 miles of Spielman Road during the annual event, citing concerns about the safety of the participants.

Race director Mike Spinnler told the Washington County Commissioners Tuesday that participants have had several "close calls" over the last two years on Spielman Road (Md. 63), such as people being hit by the mirrors of passing vehicles.

He asked the state to close Md. 63 south between Md. 68 and Dam No. 4 Road from noon to 7 p.m. the day of the ultramarathon.

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Spinnler also asked the County Commissioners for nine public safety personnel to control traffic during that time.

"With the size of the participant field growing to more than 1,000 and traffic volume increasing, dangerous near-disasters have increased," according to information included in the County Commissioners' meeting agenda.

Spinnler said traffic would be detoured west on Md. 68 west to Md. 632 toward Downsville. The detour would bring motorists to the four-way stop in Downsville, where they could get back on Md. 63, according to information included in the county's meeting agenda.

He said he didn't want anyone to get hurt or the ultramarathon to receive negative publicity as a result.

"Let's stop a tragedy ... before it happens," Spinnler said.

County Commissioners President Gregory I. Snook said the commissioners supported the proposal.

Before Spinnler's request for support, Snook presented him with a proclamation praising the JFK 50 Mile.

The proclamation described the event as "the largest, oldest and most prestigious athletic event of its kind."

November will mark the JFK 50 Mile's 44th year.

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