RRCA Club Challenge 10M

2013 Club Challenge Overall Results

2013 Club Challenge Team Results (Women)

2013 Club Challenge Team Results (Men)

2013 Club Challenge Team Results (Coed)

The Howard County Striders thought their chances for winning last Sunday’s 10-Mile Challenge went down the drain when racing team captain Carlos Renjifo pulled out of the race with an Achilles injury the week before. But Brian Harvey and Kyle Stanton stepped into the breach and delivered an astounding victory in the men’s team competition. Harvey and Stanton began the race in a tight contest with Dave Berdan from the nemesis Falls Road team. After a 4:40 first mile, the three of them were running neck and neck going across the bridge into the Allview community. When they came out of Allview, after running some serious hills, Harvey had taken complete control of the race. He cruised the remaining three miles all alone to win the race and set a course record of 51:00. Stanton bested Berdan by 14 seconds to capture second place, and the Strider men were on their way to beating the Falls Road Team for the first time in several years. The top 12 men from each of 10 local area running clubs scored in the men’s team competition.

A former all-American from Carnegie-Mellon, Harvey began his career at Centennial High School, while Stanton was an elite runner at Hammond High. Both won David L. Tripp scholarships as scholar-athletes. “It was lots of fun,” Mr. Harvey remarked about the race. “I’ve never really raced 10 miles before [only half marathons]!”

The Strider women also did something they had not done in many, many years: they beat the Falls Road women’s team. Master-runner-of-2012 Kelly Westlake spearheaded the effort by placing third among the women in a person record time of 1:05:02. She was actually leading the race for the first few miles, until Falls Road’s Christine Ramsey and Melissa Majumdar took over. The latter two ran the race in lock-step, finishing at virtually the same moment about two minutes ahead of Westlake. “After those hills,” Kelly said, “I’m looking forward to [flat] Cherry Blossom [10 Miler]. The winning Strider women’s team included new racing team member Jessica Ivy (fifth female), elite triathlete Suzy Serpico (sixth female), and half-marathoner Caroline Bauer (ninth female), who also set an improbable personal record. The top six women from each club scored.

The story was completely different, however, for the coed team competition. Somehow the Falls Road coeds pulled out a remarkable victory over Howard County. But the score was very close: 557 points to 559 (low score wins), with the point totals coming from adding up the finishing positions of the top 11 men and top 4 women. Race scorer Jim DiScuillo ran the tallies several times on the computer to guarantee accuracy. Falls Road might have had a better showing had some of their best runners not gone off to New Orleans to run a marathon or something.

The winning teams and the top male and female runners received trophies, but, to underscore the team nature of the race, there were no other awards. A new coed traveling trophy replaced the ancient (and ugly) 30-year-old trophy. The new trophy will reside at Falls Road Running Store – at least until next year.

This year’s Challenge enjoyed the nicest weather in the 33-year history of the event. Race-time temperatures were around 41F and the Sun was shining brightly. The only quibble might have been wet pavement. The weather was so fine that the post-race refreshments were served outside. Over 1000 runners registered for the race, and 739 finished, both of which are records.

The Howard County Striders stage the race every February. The race is the official 10-Mile Championship for the Maryland chapter of the Road Runners Club of America. The course runs south from the Howard Community College, circles through the hills of Allview, and returns through Hickory Ridge. Brad Murach made his premiere as race director. Although he had never directed a race before and isn’t even a runner, his day-job involves logistics, and he had no trouble organizing this baby. “He was calm and organized,” said his wife Cecilia. “I’m very proud of him.”

The Striders wish to thank Steve Musselman and the Howard Community College for allowing the College gym as the race venue. They also want to thank the Howard County Police for providing traffic control, and dozens of Howard County Striders who served as course marshals, course markers, and water stop volunteers.

RRCA Club Challenge 10M

2012 RRCA Club Challenge Overall Results

2012 RRCA Club Challenge Team Results

2012 RRCA Club Challenge Article

RRCA Club Challenge 10M

2011 RRCA Club Challenge Overall Results

2011 RRCA Club Challenge Team Results

Last year Dave Berdan won the Annual 10 Mile Challenge in an amazingly fast time of 51:43. At this year’s race, Ryan McGrath, captain of the Falls Road Running team offered a bonus of $100 to his teammate Alexander Battaglino if he could better that time. Having every intention of collecting, Battaglino bolted from the start and immediately assumed a commanding lead. “He went out so fast that we thought he’d fade and we’d reel him in,” said Carlos Renjifo, captain of the Howard County Strider/Feet First racing team. Battaglino kept a relentless pace, however, and slowed down only slightly in the hilly section of the course around six miles. “I never looked back,” he said, “so I really didn’t know how far ahead I was.” He finished nearly two minutes ahead of Matt Barresi in second place. Battaglino clocked 51:34 – nine seconds ahead of Berdan’s time— so he earned his bonus.

Falls Road may have claimed the top finisher, but they placed only six in the top 20 finishers, while the home team from Howard County placed seven in the top 20. This was enough for the locals to win the men’s team trophy. The top 12 men scored, with the next 80 serving as “displacers”.

Howard County’s Kara Waters won the woman’s race in 1:01:55 by a margin similar to that of Battaglino. She ran the race as an independent last year, but signed on with the Striders this year and ran several minutes faster, mostly competing against the men. “There were some good hills,” Kara said about the course. Her time and margin of victory were all the more amazing since she had just finished the Rock ‘n Roll Marathon (Arizona) a month ago in 2:52:31. She plans to improve her time by doing some speedwork in the near future.

Kara’s valiant effort wasn’t enough for the Strider women, however, to beat back the women’s team from Falls Road. Lead by Denise Knickman, the Falls Road women collected the next five places behind Waters and swept to a resounding victory in the women’s team challenge. “It was the best race I’ve had in a while,” Knickman said. The top six women on a team scored.

The mixed or coed team victory was decided by a scoring system as complicated as the NFL’s tie-breaker rules. Fortunately, the scoring was handled by a computer, which eventually determined that the boys and girls of Falls Road had also won the mixed team championship. By dint of its two team victories, Falls Road also took the overall championship. They retained the ancient trophy, which dates to 1980. Battaglino and Waters also took home trophies for their individual victories, and the men’s, women’s, and mixed teams received trophies. But there were no more awards, since this was purely a team challenge race. All finishers did receive the trademark painter’s gloves.

The race was directed by Richard Bernstein, who received support from dozens of Howard County Strider volunteers and the Boy Scouts. The Howard County police not only provided traffic control, they also gave Battaglino a motorcycle escort all through his 10-mile jaunt. The Striders also wish to thank Steve Musselman and the Howard Community college, which served as the venue for the race and allowed use of its gymnasium for post-race ceremonies.

Ten complete teams from all over central Maryland and the District of Columbia competed in the 10 Mile Challenge, which is an official RRCA Championship race. The Challenge race also represents the first race in the Maryland RRCA Grand Prix Championship series. Although 800 signed up for the race, only 564 finished. The registration of the 800 individuals marked the largest field ever for the 10 Mile Challenge and the first time the event ever closed out.

by Jim Carbary

RRCA Club Challenge 10M

2010 RRCA Club Challenge Overall Results

2010 RRCA Club Challenge Team Results (Summary)

2010 RRCA Club Challenge Team Results (Coed)

Because of snow and other fowl weather, the Baltimore-Washington area had gone nearly three months without a major running race until today, when the Howard County Striders staged the 10 Mile Challenge. This event pitted ten local running clubs against each other for 10 mile championship of the Maryland chapter of the Road Runners Club of America. The runners threw all their winter frustration into the race. With a dominating performance, the Falls Road Running Club of (north) Baltimore swept the men’s, women’s, and combined competitions and handed the local Howard County team a crushing defeat. “We had a pretty strong team this year,” said Jim Adams, owner of the Falls Road Running Store and principal sponsor of the winning group.

Falls Road’s Dave Berdan took the early lead in the men’s race and never looked back. Striders Graham Bazell (state cross country champion) and Izzy Mehmedovic (Strider Runner of the Year) gamely pursued Berdan and managed at least keep him in sight for the first few miles, but when he passed the five mile mark in 25:00 flat, the race was essentially over. “The last three miles were a little slower,” Mr. Berdan admitted. “Only about 5:15 per mile.” By that point, Bazell and Mehmedovic weren’t trying to win, they were just trying to keep anyone else from passing them. They succeeded by finishing 2-3, but the flood of Falls Road Runners behind them snuffed out any hopes that the local men would win.

A similar story transpired in the women’s race. Falls Roads’ Susie Emond leapt to an early lead and “kept on hammering.” “Basically, I was racing the men,” she said. Susie not only won the women’s race, but she also set a personal record of 59:27 and was the only woman in the race to crack 60 minutes. “We race and train together,” said Melissa Majumdar, Susie’s team mate. “For me, it was a just a long training run until five miles, when it became a race.” Melissa pulled ahead of her other teammates and finished second in the women’s competition.

The top Strider women were well behind these leaders. “I didn’t even see them,” lamented Strider Tasha Hogan, whose 1:06:51 placed her ninth among all women. For Beth McCubbin, a recent addition to the Strider racing team, the Challenge marked her first 10 Mile race. “I didn’t know what to expect.” An 800m track runner, Ms. McCubbin used some of her track speed to finish in under 70:00.

The 10 Mile Challenge drew a field of over 700 runners, who were all glad to be running on bare pavement for a change. Richard Bernstein directed the race, and he enjoyed the support of the Howard County Police together with a small army of Strider volunteers at the finish line and along the course. The Striders also wish to thank Steve Musselman and the Howard Community College for use of their parking lot and gymnasium as the post-race venue. The actual route through Allview and Hickory Ridge neighborhoods was recently certified by RRCA measurement officials, meaning the distance was exactly 10 miles.

The Challenge Race served as the first event in the 2010 Maryland-RRCA Championship series of races.

by Jim Carbary

RRCA Club Challenge 10M

2009 RRCA Club Challenge Overall Results

2009 RRCA Club Challenge Team Results (Summary)

2009 RRCA Club Challenge Team Results (Women)

2009 RRCA Club Challenge Team Results (Men)

There were some flurries and “plenty of beautiful hills” (according to Peter Keating), and the Howard County Striders men’s racing team successfully defended its title at the 10 Mile Challenge race last Sunday. Finishing second and third overall, team captain Carlos Renjifo and Strider Runner of the Year Tom Williams both broke 55 minutes and paced the club along the treacherously hilly course through the Hickory Ridge and Atholton communities. “We were in a tight pack until just before five miles,” Carlos remembered. “Then this ‘Kyle’ [Smits] guy took off.” At that point in the race, the field was entering the really hilly section. Running for Falls Road Running Store, Smits stretched his lead on the pack “like an accordion” and finished with a decisive victory in 53:25. Carlos, the first Howard Countian, finished a distant second in 54:41. “It was certainly a decisive victory over me,” Williams said about his third place finish (54:56).

But the Stridermen, lead by Renjifo and Williams, placed six runners among the top ten overall, including first master Doug Mock (56:12), and overwhelmed the eight other men’s teams. The top 12 men scored on each team, with the score determined by adding up the finishing places of each of the dozen. The Stridermen beat the second place Falls Road men by over 100 points.

The Strider women’s team did not fare as well. “We need more young girls,” said Vanessa Cox, 47. Although runner of the year Sari Stenholm paced the Striderwomen in 1:07:04 and finished tenth among the women, and Stef Cummins came in not far behind (1:07:35), it was simply not enough to overcome three other women’s teams. A surprise winner, the women’s team from Westminster Road Runners Club took first among 10 other all-female teams. Anchoring the Westminsterians, Laura O’Hara easily won the women’s race in 1:01:15. The team also included “old” friends Sherry Stick, Diana Pool, Kelly Dworak, and Kelly Gruber. They placed three runners among the top five women. Striders remember these young women as the team who also won the Run Through the Grapevine team competition.

Falls Road may have missed out on the men’s and women’s team championships, finishing second in each case, but they won the overall (coed) championship over Howard County – 610 to 684 points. “And that’s without three of our top ringers!” exclaimed Ryan McGrath, who accepted the trophy.

The Howard County Striders host the 10 Mile Challenge Race every February. The race draws RRCA teams from throughout Maryland and the District of Columbia. The race was directed by Richard Bernstein. The Striders wish to thank the Howard Community College for use of its gymnasium for post-race ceremonies, and the Howard County Police for traffic control. The club also thanks the dozens of volunteers for marshalling the course on a damp, overcast morning on which snow actually fell.

The top three runners received individual trophies, and the winning teams won team trophies. For winning the overall championship, the Falls Road team earned what many consider “the ugliest trophy in the world,” which they keep at least until the next challenge race. All runners received signature 10-Mile Challenge gloves and all the soft pretzels they could eat. A total of 603 finished the race.

by Jim Carbary

RRCA Club Challenge 10M

2008 Club Challenge Overall Results

2008 Club Challenge Team Results (Summary)

2008 Club Challenge Team Results (Women)

2008 Club Challenge Team Results (Men)

2008 Club Challenge Team Results (Coed)

“One girl went out at a 17-minute 5K pace (which is very fast)” Katie Brietenbach said of the women’s race at Sunday’s 10 Mile Team Challenge race in Columbia, “but she must have been a rabbit because I saw her walking at three miles.” A local favorite from the Howard County Striders, Ms. Breitenbach was at that point running behind Westminster’s Sherry Stick in second place among the women. The women’s pack then entered the hills in the Allview Estates community and, although she held second place, Katie said “the hills depleted me.” As the women emerged from the hills and re-crossed Route 29 near seven miles, Eileen Fleck of the Baltimore Road Runners and Jessica Laurent of the DC Road Runners swept past both Breitenbach and Stick. Katie continued racing as best she could. “I remembered what I was wearing,” namely, the Strider racing singlet, and she managed to finish fourth among the females and scored for the women’s team. All four broke 70 minutes, which was good enough for the Striderwomen to edge the Falls Road women and win the women’s team competition 33 points to 39 points (low score winning).

The men’s race started off the same way as the women’s race, with one runner bolting away to a commanding lead. But as the miles rolled by this guy showed no signs of slowing down. An elite runner from the Pacers-Brooks team, Steven Crane left no doubt about who would win the race. (He did, in 53:27). But Crane was unattached to a team, and that left Falls Road’s Kip Bitok battling Striders Kent Werner, Stephen Moxey, and Carlos Renjifo for second place. “I guess our pack was better than the Falls Road pack,” Carlos said, because the Stridermen carefully stayed together for most of the 10 miles while the Falls Road runners didn’t. But bragging rights for the fastest runner went to Falls Road, because Bitok out-sprinted Werner by one second. “He was taunting me,” Kent said, realizing that Kip (who has run a sub-50 minute 10 miles) might have easily outrun him. (“I told him before the race I was going to,” Kip said.) Nevertheless, Howard County placed six among the top 10 men, and 11 among the top 20, scoring 95 total points, which overwhelmed the Falls Road team (345 points) as well as all the other men’s teams.

With the Striderwomen and Stridermen winning their respective team competitions, the Striders handily won the overall coed team competition with a combined score of 456 points, well ahead of Falls Road, who managed 732 points. The top 12 men in nine teams, and the top 4 women in ten teams scored. The teams consisted of runners from local Road Runners Clubs of America (RRCA). Although the overall male and female winners received trophies, the general awards and the glory went to the teams. There were no age group awards, no random prizes, and no t-shirts. (There were, however, glazed doughnuts and coffee at the post-race ceremony.) A total of 544 runners finished the race.

The Howard County Striders host the RRCA 10 Mile Challenge every February, weather permitting. The Striders won the last 10 Mile Challenge in 2006; an ice storm prevented the event in 2007. Richard Bernstein directed the race, with considerable help from those Howard County Striders who did not race. The Striders also wish to thank the Howard County Police for providing traffic control on a long, tricky course, and the Howard Community College for serving as the pre- and post-race venue.

by Jim Carbary

RRCA Club Challenge 10M

The 2007 Club Challenge was canceled due to inclement weather.

RRCA Club Challenge 10M

2006 Club Challenge Overall Results

2006 Club Challenge Team Results (Summary)

2006 Club Challenge Team Results (Women)

2006 Club Challenge Team Results (Men)

2006 Club Challenge Team Results (Coed)

Paced by its younger runners, Howard County Striders knocked off seven other teams from the Road Runner’s Club of America at the 10-Mile Challenge Race this Sunday to win the Overall and Coed team competition and finish second in the Women’s team competition. In spite of cold, windy conditions and a hilly course, the Challenge proved to be one of the fastest 10 milers in the area. How fast? If you didn’t run the 10 miles faster than 60 minutes you didn’t even break into the top 30.

From the start, the men’s competition became a contest between the Howard County Striders and the Falls Road Running Club. In bright red singlets, the runners of Falls Road formed a tight pack at the very front of the field, and it seemed they might easily win the team race. But the pack fragmented when they reached the infamous hills of the Allview community, and young Carlos Renjifo and Eric Furst went with the leaders. “They’d gap me on the downhills,” Carlos said, “and I’d catch back up on the uphills.” But when they turned into the wind on Freetown Road near Atholton High School, “It all fell apart.” In the final miles, Falls Road’s “Spider” Sillery and Chris Nowakowski drafted back and forth, leaving Renjifo “in no-man’s land” out in the wind. Renjifo and Furst settled for third and fourth overall. Strider Runner of the Year for 2005 Mike Colaiacovo claimed fifth place right behind the youngsters.

The initial pack of Falls Road runners unraveled in the final five miles, and Howard County succeeded in placing seven runners in the top ten and nine in the top 20, while Falls Road managed no more than five. Consequently, the Strider men’s team beat their closest rivals by 51 points— a narrow margin in the race score. The top 13 men from each running club contributed to their team’s score.

Lacking the young legs that put the men’s team over the top, the Strider women succumbed to a stiff challenge from the Montgomery County Road Runners. Montgomery’s Victoria McFarland simply overwhelmed the women’s field, outgunning the highly-regarded Denise Knickman from Falls Road by over two and a half minutes. “The downhills didn’t bother me,” Knickman commented, implying that the uphills and the wind did bother her. The Striders’ fastest women, Runner of the Year for 2005 Robyn Humphrey, ran a spectacular 1:06:09, which was no better than fifth among the women. The Striders placed three women in the top 10, but Montgomery County nevertheless edged them in the women’s competition by a slender margin of 6 points. “Where are all our young women?” asked Vicki Lang, third Striderwoman to finish. The top 5 women from each club scored. The final prize of the Challenge race consisted of the combined or coed team competition, which Howard County won largely on the strength of its men’s team. The overall Howard County team beat Falls Road 854 points to 920 points (low score winning).

The 10 Mile Challenge Race is staged each winter by the Howard County Striders. who have won the last three in a row. The race began and ended at Howard Community College in Columbia, MD, and ran through the neighborhoods of Allview and Hickory Ridge. Richard Bernstein directed the race, with the assistance of the Howard County Police and numerous Strider volunteers at key intersections. The Striders wish to thank Steve Musselman and the Howard Community College for providing their gymnasium as a pre-race and post-race staging area.

The victory marked the first Challenge Race win for new Strider president Len Guralnick. He accepted the team trophy from Mr. Bernstein at a brief ceremony after the race. Jean Knaack, executive director of the Road Runners Club of America, was on hand at the post race ceremonies.

The 2006 10 Mile Challenge Race was not only one of the fastest 10-milers in the area, it was also the largest in a history dating back to 1980. According to official race scorer Jim DiScuillo, 90 persons registered on race morning to bring the total registration to over 450. A total of 434 runners actually completed the 10 mile race.

by Jim Carbary

RRCA Club Challenge 10M

2005 Club Challenge Overall Results

2005 Club Challenge Team Results (Summary)

2005 Club Challenge Team Results (Coed)

For the second year in a row, the Howard County Striders won the Road Runner’s Club of America 10 Mile Challenge, overpowering eight other RRCA running clubs from the Baltimore-Washington area. In the previous year, the home-town Striders had relied on their older, “more mature” runners and had barely won the Challenge, but this year younger legs handily carried the team to victory. Indeed, only five of the top 16 Striders who scored were over 40. “It’s about time the kids began to assert themselves,” veteran Strider Vicki Lang commented about the youth movement.

The overall winner, Izudin “Izzy” Mehmedovic, illustrated her point. The 20-year-old from UMBC and graduate of Oakland Mills High School had run only one other 10 mile race— the 2002 Challenge Race that the Striders lost. On Sunday, he cranked through the initial mile in 5:17 and then proceeded to leave the rest of the field in the dust. He finished with a 53:20 personal record. Young legs indeed! Izzy had run a 4:09 split at the American East Conference Championship in Boston on Friday night before, then drove home to run a 4:08 mile at a meet in Towson (plus a 1:55 800 meter on a relay), and didn’t get to bed until 12:30 am Sunday morning. Izzy had run a 4:09 split in the Distance Medley Relay at the American East Conference Championship in Boston on Friday night before winning the open mile in 4:08 on Saturday. He also placed 2nd in the 1000 and anchored the 4×800 Relay team on Saturday before driving home with the team (UMBC). “It was hillier than I remembered,” he said about the race.

Anchored by Medmedovic, the Striders placed nine men among the top 20, including duathlete Doug Mock, who out-duelled Craig Morrell from Falls Road Running for second place. The most valiant contribution to the team may have come from Strider Hall of Famer Dave Berardi, who had to pause at 6 miles to vomit. But he came roaring back to chase down the top master runners of Falls Road— Neville Anderson and Pete Searson. “I didn’t have a hang-over either,” Dave said.

In winning the women’s team championship, Striderwomen accounted for four of the top 10 women, including third-place Carrie Selmer, another 20-year-old, as well as veterans Julie Thienel and Robyn Humphrey, who had each earned Runner-of-the-Year honors. Like Izzy, Carrie set a personal record at the 10 mile distance (1:04:49).

Carrie knew well the two women who beat her— Jill Krebs and Diana Pool, who ran with the Westminster Road Runners. The three had met at Western Maryland College in Westminster and still train together. Carrie is taking a semester of from school, Winthrop University, and while she is home she is training with Jill and Diana who were teammates at Western Maryland College in Westminster. Jill herself set a personal record, breaking the mystical one-hour barrier for the first time ever (59:49). She found the course “deceivingly hilly,” but, being accustomed to the environs of Westminster, had little trouble overcoming them.

A total of 328 completed the 10 Mile Challenge. Teams from eight local running clubs competed in Men’s, Women’s, and Overall (Men plus Women) championships. The top 12 men and the top 4 women directly scored for each team, with other club runners serving as “displacers.” The team with the lowest scores won. The Striders won all three championships. Strider President Phil Lang, who has recently become the RRCA Maryland State Representative, accepted the team trophy (“the ugliest trophy in the world”) at a brief ceremony after the race. The top male and female winners received trophies, and all other finishers received the signature “challenge gloves.” There were no other awards, although everyone had bagels, donuts, and Gatorade after the race and could take a shower at the Junior College.

The RRCA 10 Mile Championship is hosted each winter by the Howard County Striders. Richard Bernstein directed the race. Dozens of Howard County Striders served along the course as marshals, at water stops, and at the finish line. The Striders made a point of marking the course and measuring it using the latest global positioning technology, although the nine-mile marker may have been off a little. The Striders wish to thank the Howard County Police for directing traffic at key intersections; they also wish to thank Steve Musselman and the Howard Community College, which served as the host venue for the race.

by Jim Carbary

RRCA Club Challenge 10M

2004 Club Challenge Overall Results

2004 Club Challenge Team Results (Summary)

2004 Club Challenge Team Results (Women)

2004 Club Challenge Team Results (Men)

2004 Club Challenge Team Results (Coed)

The Howard County Striders finally reclaimed the Road Runners Club of America 10 Mile Team Championship after several years of finishing far out of contention. On a hilly course through the Hickory Ridge and Atholton communities, they accomplished the feat by placing five men among the top 10 men (the top 17 men on each team scored) and three women in among the top 10 women (the top 4 women scored), which gave the Striders a coed team score of 1007. The Falls Road Running Club, their chief competition, came in second with 1150 points (low score wins). A total of eight teams from the local area competed for the race, in which over 400 runners from all over Maryland registered.

The Striders rallied around new President Phil Lang, and they may have also benefited from a new 10-mile course. The course was so new, in fact, the mile marks had not been painted. The lack of mile marks caused some confusion among the runners, especially among the leaders. They even questioned the lead biker about the distances. When the reply proved unenlightening, Glen Mays (DC Road Runners) and Jesse Williams (Falls Road) broke free from the pack “around five miles” and waged their own private battle for the lead. Mays overcame Williams with a late surge in what he thought was the last half mile and went on to win in 52:14, a course record for sure!

The Strider men may not have challenged for the lead, but they included some of the fleetest runners in the area. Runner of the year Mark Gilmore led the contingent in 54:45, one second ahead of highly regarded Tom Williams, who trains with the Bagel Runners on Saturday mornings. New duathlete Doug Mock celebrated his return to racing with a 55:43 and was the third Strider to finish. The next five Stridermen also broke 60 minutes. The final male Strider to finish was Dan Laukzemis (73rd place); he easily beat the last male of second place Falls Road, who was none other than team captain Jim Adams (117th place). Among the 17 Stridermen to score was President Phil Lang (1:02:01), Vice President Jason Tripp (59:22), and ex-President Mick Slonaker (1:02:51). Luis Diaz, in 54th place, also contributed to the cause, even though he started the race thinking “it was only a 5k or a 10k!”

The women’s race belonged solidly to the well-known Lee DiPietro from the Falls Road Running Club. The 45-year-old master woman had little trouble overcoming the other women in the race, and she faced her stiffest competition from Janel Kiley, her own teammate. Finishing 1-2 among the women, DiPieto and Kiley ensured that Falls Road would win the women’s team championship. Lead by Vicki Lang (fifth woman overall) and Julie Thienel (who set a personal record), the Strider women claimed third place among the women’s teams.

The race had eight official coed teams (nine women’s teams) with a total of 398 finishers. Each finisher received a pair of gloves, plus his pick of doughnuts and oranges, but there were not many awards. The overall winners received trophies, and the winning teams received trophies, but that was all. “If you won the race, you got a trophy,” said announcer Paul Goldenberg. “Otherwise, nice job.”

The Howard County Striders stage the RRCA 10 Mile Challenge each February, although snow cancelled the race in 2003. Richard Bernstein debuted as director of the race. Chris Selmer and Brad Speierman measured the new course and hope to certify it by next year’s race. Perhaps they will even mark it!

The Striders wish to thank the Howard County Police for directing traffic. They also wish to acknowledge Steve Musselman and the Howard Community College for graciously providing the use of the gym for before and after race activities. The Striders finally want to thank the dozens of volunteers who marshaled the course and encouraged the runners.

by Jim Carbary