The local running schedule steps up in pace Sunday when the third annual Oriole Advocates 8K Home run takes off at 9:30 a.m. from Memorial Stadium.
It is the first of at least 37 area races in the Baltimore-Washington corridor in the next two months. Local racing entrepreneurs Les Kinion and Dave Cooley have six races scheduled in that period. Kinion will direct the 8K Home Run, as well as the 1040 8K on April 20 and the Hannah Moore 5K on May 11. Cooley will oversee the St. Paul's 5K Crusade April 13, the Johns Hopkins Spring Fair 8K April 21 and the Boys' Latin 5K Fast Break April 27.
In addition, the Montgomery County Road Runners will conduct what Runner's World in its February edition called "the single best road race in Maryland," Fritzbe's 10K, April 21. The Howard County Striders will conduct their premier event, Clyde's Great American 10K, the following Sunday. The Annapolis Striders will hold the Governor's Bay Bridge Run 10K, one of their two premier races, on May 5, and the Baltimore Road Runners Club will present its showcase event, the Constellation Classic 10K, on May 26.
Cooley says the conditions are right for the onslaught on races in the next eight weeks.
"Everyone who calls and wants to put on [sponsor] a race wants to put it on in the spring or in the early fall," Cooley said last week.
As for the motivation of the participants, Cooley says spring races are many runners' starting points.
"I think it's like the bear coming out of hibernation. People arready to go out and lose a little bit of that winter fat," he said.
Add to those factors the distances that suit the middle-of-the-pack runner, and the results are the better-than-average fields that spring races routinely draw. Fritzbe's draws nearly 4,000, the Bay Bridge is limited to 3,000 entries and the Constellation averages 2,500.
"I think the people who run these races, for the most part, are not the same older, dedicated long-distance runners you see in a marathon, a half-marathon or even a 10-miler," Cooley said.
For information on Cooley's races, call 494-8649. For information on Kinion's, call 882-5455.
For information on Fritzbe's, call the MCRRC hot line at (301) 353-0200; on Clyde's, the Howard County Striders' hot line at 964-1998; on the Bay Bridge Run, the Annapolis Striders' hot line at (301) 268-1165; and the Constellation Classic, the BRRC hot line at 566-RUN2.
I haven't even walked that many days consecutively: Today is the 24th anniversary of a daily running streak, what is believed to be the world's second longest, for Bob Ray of Carney. Beginning April 4, 1967, Ray has run every day. Former Maryland Marathon champion Ron Hill has a streak that has lasted longer. "They refer to him [Hill] as an Olympian; I'm just a neighborhood runner," Ray said before the start of the Ladies' Classic a week ago."
He's baaack: Mel Walton is working part time at the Hess Running Centers in Belvedere Square and at Towsontowne Centre. . . . The BRRC will begin its annual A Place for Your Pace program at Loch Raven watershed on April 13 at 8 a.m. The program runs every Saturday through Nov. 23. . . . For information on how to apply for the 1991 New York City Marathon, Nov. 3, 1991, send a self-addressed, stamped #10 envelope to New York Road Runners Club-Dept. F, 9 E. 89th St., New York, N.Y. 10128.