The sorry state of middle-distance running in this country was brought into disturbing focus recently when it was disclosed our best two 10,000-meter runners, Mark Nenow and Bruce Bickford, have continuing hamstring and Achilles problems and are probably done as world-class performers. Thing is, both are 33 years old and should have been replaced by now.
* The BRRC begins its championship series Sunday with a 10-miler beginning at 9 a.m. at Loch Raven. The club has realized an impressive gain in the average number of entries in series races. The eight races averaged 70 participants in both 1988 and 1989 and jumped to 115 last year.
* Bob Yara was the only one under 26 minutes while capturing the Frozen Finger 5-miler in Stevenson in 25:41. Edie Tress led the women in the BRRC-sponsored race in 34:19, just three seconds better than Marybeth Eikenberg.
Also locally, Nat Boyer won the St. Mary's 6-miler in Bel Air, beating out Jim Pryde by 14 seconds in 32:13. Margaret Cooper (39:14) paced the women . . . Cooper also took the RASAC North Harford 10-K in 42:36, joining Jeff Hinte (37:39) in the winner's circle.
* Steve Spence and John Tuttle got word that they have qualified, time-wise, for the World Championships in late summer. They won or placed in the necessary races, but a ridiculous 2:12 qualifying time was first established, then boosted to 2:14.
* One of the "thrills" of running a race in D.C. is one never knows who's going to show up. For instance, local boy Mike Regan won the Ed Barron Hangover 8-K last week in 24:43 and three of the next four finishers hailed from California, Arizona and Alabama, all guys in town "just visiting." All were under 26 minutes.
* In case you missed it, the New Year's Eve 5-miler in Central Park went to Lynn Jennings (26:13) and ex-Georgetowner John Trautman (23:33) . . . They're still checking the 10-K course in Madrid where Osoro Ondorso ran 26-flat.
* Michael Johnson, first runner to be ranked No. 1 in both the 200- and 400-meter --es, will be one of the featured performers in the Mobil 1 track meet at the Patriot Center in Fairfax, Va., next month . . . A gent named Ed Barreto is away on his attempt to run 73 marathons during 1991. He did 65 for a record a couple of years ago, but then Richard Bird of England knocked off 71 last year. Figuring out a schedule of events is nearly as tough as running them.
* Tickets are still available for the fourth annual bull and oyster roast of the Baltimore Road Runners, which is scheduled for April 21 at Cedars of Lebanon Hall, Putty Hill Shopping Center . . . Incidentally, the BRRC has changed its colors to green and white. Which begs the question, what were the old colors?
Never fret, the Chili Dog 8-K is on its way: Jan. 27, Memorial Stadium 9:30 a.m., 882-5455.
* Sunday: BRRC 10-mile championship, Loch Raven, 9 a.m.; Medford 5-K, Westminster, noon, 857-5154; No Frills Biathlon, Salisbury, 10 a.m., 882-6103; USRA Masters Circuit 8-K, Naples, Fla.
* Jan. 18: Pyramids Marathon, Cairo, Egypt, 320-3663.
* Jan. 19: Tri-State Track Club all-comers meet, Hagerstown Junior College, 5 p.m., 733-6076; Snowflake Chasers 5- and 10-milers, and half-marathon, Big Run State Park, 10 a.m., 359-3770.
* Jan. 20: Boordy (Vineyards) 6-miler, 9:30 a.m., 566-RUN2; Great Valley Marathon, Chambersburg, Pa., 10 a.m., (713) 264-5390; Houston (Tex.) Tenneco Marathon.
* Jan. 26: Bear Run 4-miler, Pleasant Valley, Westminster, 9 a.m.
* Feb. 2: Chinmoy 2-miler, Patterson Park, 8 a.m., 467-3223.
* Feb. 3: Homeless 4-miler, Stevenson Village Center, 9 a.m., 494-8649.