As director of the Howard County Striders' Metric Marathon in 1989 and 1990, Joe Wasserman racked up some impressive numbers, but as a marathoner, he has compiled a total equally as admirable.
Competing in the Delta Dental of Rhode Island Marathon Sunday in Newport, R.I., Wasserman completed his 50th marathon, finishing in 3 hours, 15 minutes.
"It wasn't the greatest race," Wasserman said. "I think I let the emotion overcome me."
The Rhode Island milestone came 13 years after Wasserman completed his first, the New York City Marathon, in 3:27.
"I trained all year and it was my first race," Wasserman said about New York. "I started running in July 1977."
Along the way, he has registered a 2:56:02, a personal record, in the Marine Corps Marathon in 1983. He competed in that Washington race seven other times and the Boston Marathon seven times.
"I've also run Montreal and Los Angeles," Wasserman said.
Rhode Island was his 17th different marathon.
"Rhode Island is where I grew up," said Wasserman, 49, who lives in Columbia. "Even though I don't have family there, my plan was to go back home to run my 50th. And I wanted to do it before I turned 50."
His most memorable marathon?
"It was really exciting the first time I did a sub-3-hour marathon," Wasserman said. "But I think my most memorable came at Boston. My father died in early April 1987. He and I were very close, and I kind of dedicated that race to him. I ran the best of my Bostons, and not in the greatest of condition, I ran a 2:58. It was only about two weeks after my father's funeral. I don't think I could have done it without that motivation."
As director of the Metric Marathon, he directed the growth of that 26.2-kilometer event by over 350 percent in two years.
"The numbers had been slowly declining every year," said Wasserman, who took over after the race had 150 finishers in 1988 and saw the event climb to 683 finishers last year. "My goal was 400. A lot of people thought I was being unrealistic.
"I'm probably not the greatest race director in terms of logistics, but my background is marketing and promotion. That's how I was able to reach out to the running community to let people know we had a good race."
* NOTES: This year's Metric Marathon will be held in Columbia on Dec. 1. For information, call 992-5800. . . . . Tom Brown, 41, of Glenelg, set a PR in the Delta Dental of Rhode Island Marathon in 3:04. Chris Brown, 53, of Columbia, ran a 3:33. . . . Atlantic City Marathon race director Barbara Altman has extended the $20 early fee and $12 companion 10K early fee to Baltimore area runners. The race is Sunday. For information, call (609) 822-6911. . . . Robert Paulus and his dog, Nike, and Ann Anderson and her dog, Jenny, won the Pets on Wheels' Dog-a-thon 2-miler Oct. 27 in 12:29 and 13:24. . . . Sunday's top finishers:
Males: 1. Neville Anderson, 29, 18:33; 2. Chris Mortenson, 23, 18:47; 3. Charles Shifflett, 34, 20:05; 4. Ed Dircks, 34, 21:07; 5. Bret Pollack, 25, 27:22.
Saturday, BRRC A Place for Your Pace, Loch Raven, 8 a.m., 323-7860.
Saturday, WRRC Otterdale Mill 5-Mile Run, Tanyetown, 8 a.m., (301) 756-4369.
Saturday, Sri Chinmoy 2-mile fun run, Patterson Park, 8 a.m.
Saturday, Annapolis Striders' Hog Neck 5M Scamper, Pasadena, a.m., (301) 268-1165.
Saturday, Tom Krieger Memorial Run 8K, 5401 Loch Raven Blvd., 9 a.m., 592-7205.
Saturday, York White Rose Run, 5 miles, York, Pa., 9 a.m.
Sunday, MCRRC Cross Country Grand Prix #4, Clarksburg, 8 a.m., (301) 353-0200.
Sunday, Lutherville-Timonium 5K Turkey Trot, Lutherville-Timonium, 9 a.m., 882-5455.
Sunday, RASAC Tucker 10K, Bel Air, 9 a.m., (410) 939-4679.