Still, the race produced a better-than-average field that included, among the men, third-place finisher Jeff Campbell, a state champion from Randallstown; fourth-place runner Dave Berardi; sixth-place Gerry Clapper; and eighth-place Brad Uhlfelder, who has won a half dozen local races this spring. Pat O'Malley, who had won the Governor's Bay Bridge Run 10K three weeks ago, was 44th.
Classic stalwart masters runner Bill Roberts, 79, who has been doing more swimming than running of late, might have made the day's wiser choice. Roberts, who opted for the accompanying Constellation Classic 1-mile fun walk/run, told a crowd of well-wishers on Key Highway: "It's cooler this way."
The temperature for the start of the race at the Inner Harbor was 79 and humidity was 79 percent. Understandably, there were few personal records among the starting field of 3,026 runners.
But Kartalia and Pazarentzos both met their objectives, defending-champion Kartalia winning by half a minute over second-place finisher John Doub of Waynesboro, Pa., and Pazarentzos by more than a minute over second-place female finisher Ruth O'Hara of Alexandria, Va.
Kartalia's 30-minute, 28-second finish was well-off his PR of 28:55 for 10 kilometers on the road, as well as the 29:15 he turned in in last year's Constellation. Pazarentzos' 35:56 was almost 1 1/2 minutes slower than the course record she had set in the 15th Constellation.
"I'm nearly as fit as I was for last year's race," Kartalia, 25, a native of Westminster who is doing graduate studies in fisheries-biology at Clemson University. "After I knew that I had a good lead, I just wanted to take it easy. Even though I was running conservatively, I felt pretty dead."
Pazarentzos was one of many to echo that sentiment, saying that "last year was a lot more fun."
"It's still kind of early, and real early for these kinds of conditions," said Pazarentzos, 29, of Hagerstown. "I haven't run that much [this spring]. I wanted to go hard and get done. But I didn't want to pass out."
Roger Clark, 45, of Vienna, Va., was the top male in the masters division in 32:58, and 12th-place female finisher Marge Rosasco, 43, of Joppa was the first women's masters finisher, in 39:00. Ken Archer won the wheelchair division.
Kartalia and Pazarentzos, who each won $600, said the hot running should help them in The Athletics Congress Championships in New York on June 13. Both have qualified for 10,000 meters.
"That's [TAC Championships] what I was trying to think of today because that's what the weather conditions could be like," Pazarentzos said.
Kartalia, who now makes his home in Pendleton, S.C., but who came north for the race, as well as for a family reunion in Carroll County, will be preparing for a 5K road race at Clemson Saturday, the TACs and a return to Peachtree.
"I would like to move up a few places," Kartalia said about his 19th-place finish in last year's Peachtree, "but it's hard to make any time predictions."
He's not sure whether his schedule will bring him to Maryland for any other races this summer.
"Once you get [into] this time of year," he said, "you don't get much relief from the humidity coming from South Carolina to Maryland."
Top Constellation Classic finishers
7-1. Steve Kartalia, 25, Pendleton, S.C. 30:28
2. John Doub, 34, Waynesboro, Pa. 30:58
3. Jeff Campbell, 19, Lawrenceville, Va. 31:01
4. Dave Berardi, 30, Baltimore 31:10
5. Dave McCormack, 30, Falls Church, Va. 31:28
Gerry Clapper, 29, Columbia 31:42
7. Brad Uhlfelder, 30, Owings Mills 32:15
8. Jim Clelland, 33, Catonsville 32:24
9. Mark Shea, 27, Portsmouth, Va. 32:25
10. Charles Ellis, 30, King of Prussia, Pa. 32:26
11. Tom Brown Jr., 23, Baltimore 32:40
12. Ken Fowler, 25, Baltimore 32:41
13. Dominique Da Luz, 31, Silver Spring 32:45
Greg Coan, 25, Kensington 32:50
15. Roger Clark, 45, Vienna, Va. 32:58
16. Rob Bedell, 22, Bethesda 33:0017. Stavros Rologas, 23, Baltimore 33:04
18. Michael Santoni, 28, Glyndon 33:18
19. Paul Jacobson, 27, Bethesda 33:20
20. Ramon Marin, 24, Annapolis 33:30
vTC 21. Roger Howell, 30, Silver Spring 33:35
22. Chris Samley, 29, Columbia 33:39
23. John Ausherman, 35, Chambersburg, Pa. 33:40
24. Keith McIntyre, 32, Laurel 33:45
25. James Pryde, 37, Bel Air 33:47
26. Patrick Rodrigues, 18, Ellicott City 33:50
27. William Desmond, 39, Baltimore 33:55
28. Mark Gaffney, 23, Auburn, N.Y. 33:57
29. George Altieri, 33, Columbia 34:00
30. Jeff Sanborn, 37, Baltimore 34:05
31. Ralph Morales, 35, Baltimore 34:09