There was good reason for the smile on Dave Starnes' face Sunday.
Starnes likes hills, and the North Harford Loop 10K, part of the Renaissance AllSports Athletic Club's 10-part Snowflake Series, has hills to spare.
Starnes is cross country and track coach at North Harford High School -- site of the North Harford Loop 10K. He is also founder and director of the 10K, as well as the North Harford 10K, which is run two weeks earlier at the same location.
"The other one [North Harford 10K] only has two hills -- one going out and one coming back," Starnes, 46, said Sunday. "I'd say this one [North Harford Loop 10K] has at least 15."
Starnes used to use one of the hills in the North Harford 10K to train his cross country team, but a ruling that prohibited taking students off school property put a stop to that several years ago.
"We can't run on public roads anymore," Starnes said. "We used to jog out there, do the hill eight times and jog back. Those kids were really tough.
"We still do the hills at the [North Harford] middle school. We just can't go on the roads."
Jim Otte, fresh off a 2-hour, 43-minute finish in the Charlotte Marathon three weeks ago, proved the best at handling the roads in this year's North Harford 10K, finishing first in 35 minutes, 55 seconds.
An overnight dusting of snow made the task more difficult.
"You couldn't run downhill and you couldn't run uphill," second-place finisher Jeff Hinte said of the conditions.
"It was real hilly and it was really slick," said Otte, who said he wasn't complaining. He said the conditions at Charlotte were equally challenging.
"There was lots of rain and wind down there," he said. "They took about 10 minutes off your finish. The winner's a 2:16 guy, and he ran 2:26."
Besides, Charlotte and North Harford helped to toughen him.
"I'm trying to run a good marathon," he said. "I've got Boston coming up. I'm going to try to crack 2:30."
The top finishers:
Males: 1. Jim Otte, 35:55; 2. Jeff Hinte, 36:41; 3. Nathan Boyer, 37:06; 4. Eric Estrada, 40:16; 5. Stan Crimmins, 41:45; 6. Chris Sinclair, 42:07; 7. Lance Woodward, 43:34; 8. Dave Starnes, 44:15; 9. Bernie Gemmill, 45:45; 10. Bruce Brooks, 46:02.
Females: 1. Margaret Cooper, 47:17; 2. Lucy Howard, 47:24; 3. Marjy Rawle, 56:24.
NOTES: After receiving a commitment from Avia Athletic Footware, the Baltimore Ladies' Classic, formerly the Lady Equitable, has been renamed The Lady Avia Classic 10K. Avia spokesman Mike Matto said: "We share the commitment to women's running and fitness that the Baltimore Road Runners Club has shown over the years. Our long-term goal is for this race to once again be recognized as one of the best women's races in the country." For further information on the March 29 race, call the Baltimore Road Runners Club Hotline at (410) 323-7860.
Next in RASAC's Snowflake Series is Sunday's Friends 5-Miler. A $10 award goes to the runner with the ugliest tie. . . . Robert Yara of Cockeysville finished second in the Bermuda Marathon on Jan. 19 in 2:27:52. Sergei Krestyaninov was first in 2:24:55. Ronnie Wong of Catonsville was the second masters finisher in 3:04. Baltimorean Dale Jordan finished in 3:24:56. . . . Sunday's top finishers:
WRRC Bear Run Four-Miler
Males: 1. Bob McCubbin, 32, 23:25; 2. Kent Husted, 21, 23:32; 3. Pat Maley, 26, 24:16; 4. Roger Kilgore, 48, 24:32; 5. Bob Hugg, 39, 24:36; 6. Bob Leatherman, 40, 24:51; 7. Gary Honeman, 36, 25:31; 8. Harry Jones, 42, 25:55; 9. Pete Sciukas, 42, 26:05; 10. Jim Bullock, 49, 26:14. Masters: 1. Kilgore.
Females: 1. Jenny Caple, 26, 26:47; 2. Judi Bullock, 45, 31:08; 3. Liuda Galinaitis, 34, 31:48; 4. Kimberly Hugg, 13, 33:58. Masters: 1. Bullock.
Saturday, Memorial 5-miler, Shippensburg, Pa., 10 a.m., (717) 264-3775.
Sunday, RASAC Friends 5-miler, Bel Air, 9 a.m., (410) 879-9812.
Sunday, HCS Winter Series 2M, 10K, 15K, Jeffers Hill Neighborhood Center, 2 p.m., (410) 964-1998.
Feb. 8, Bare Hills Club Indoor Triathlon (10-minute row, 10-minute cycle, 1-mile run), Bare Hills Athletic Club, 7 p.m.-11 p.m., 882-6103.
Feb. 9, RASAC Tuneup for Md-DC Club championship 10-miler, Aberdeen, 9 a.m.Feb. 9, Tri-Maryland No Frills Biathlon (2 run, 13 bike, 1 run), Hereford Middle School, 9 a.m., (410) 882-6103.
Feb. 9, Hampton Coliseum Half-Marathon, 5K, Hampton, Va., 1 p.m.Feb. 9, HCS Winter Series 2M, 10K, 15K, Longfellow Elementary School, 2 p.m., (410) 964-1998.
Feb. 9, WRRC Treat Shop Eight-Mile Shuttle Relay, Westminster, 2 p.m., (410) 848-4562.
Feb. 16, Annapolis Striders' Valentine's Twosome Relay 5K, Severna Park Middle School, 10 a.m., (410) 268-1165.
Feb. 16, Washington's Birthday Marathon, Greenbelt, 10:30 a.m.Feb. 16, HCS Winter Series 2M, 10K, 15K, Thunder Hill Elementary School, 2 p.m., (410) 964-1998.
Feb. 22, Annapolis Striders' Washington's Birthday 5K, Arnold, 10 a.m., 268-1165.
Feb. 23, Md-DC Road Runners Club Championship 10-Mile Team Challenge, Howard Community College, 8 a.m., (410) 964-1998.
Feb. 23, Colonial Half-Marathon, 5K, Williamsburg, Va., 1 p.m., (804) 221-3362.