Heather Parsons will defend her championship in Saturday's Last Train to Boston Marathon, and she hopes the running will be easier than it was in last year's race.
Running in only her fourth marathon, Parsons ran a personal-record 3 hours, 17 minutes and took the women's title in the Renaissance AllSports Athletic Club's annual four-lap trek around the Edgewood area of Aberdeen Proving Ground. But it was anything but easy.
"I actually was going to run part of it as a training run," Parsons, 36, of York, Pa., said last week. "I had strep throat and the flu and thought, 'What the heck.' "
Considering that Parsons had intended to run only part of the race, the Last Train was an improbable victory.
Like many runners, Parsons took up the sport -- five years ago -- to keep down her weight and has remained successful on that goal. This will be her third Last Train to Boston, and she qualified for the 1989 Boston Marathon with a 3:19 finish at the Marine Corps Marathon.
"I've kept it [weight] off the whole time I've been running," Parsons said. "Then I joined the [York] Road Runners to get involved with people, and that has also helped."
She will be on board for this year's Last Train, although she is uncertain whether she will run the entire race.
"I'm just going to see how I feel," she said. "I'm running with some friends, and they say they're only going to run part of it. But everyone always says they're only going to run part of it and they end up finishing."
Given her history, not many will be betting against her.
NOTES: RASAC has 126 entries and runners from 18 states signed up for the Last Train. Race director Brad Roberts said he expects 200 entries. . . . The inaugural B&A Trail Marathon, put on by the Annapolis Striders, takes off on Sunday at Severna Park High School. . . . The Class AA Hagerstown Suns will hold the second annual Hagerstown Suns/City Park 5K on May 9 at 11 a.m. The top five runners in each age group will receive championship medals, and $2,100 in prize money will be awarded. The first 300 runners will receive T-shirts, and all runners will receive four tickets to the Suns game on May 9 or 10. For information, call (301) 791-6266. . . . The Tri-Maryland Triathlon Club and the Baltimore Jewish Community Center will hold the Skyline Race Series, a series of 5K and 8K cross country races, mountain bike races and biathlons for adults and children. All events will take place at Camp Milldale, near Reisterstown. Call Brad Jaeger at (410) 882-6103. . . . The Nike Women's Race 8K on May 10 in Washington will offer a $25,000 bonus for the first woman to run 25 minutes or faster. Defending champion Lynn Jennings, who set a world record but missed a $25,000 bonus by 2 seconds, is expected to race. Entries for the race may be obtained by sending a self-addressed, stamped envelope to Nike Women's Race, Box 20090, Alexandria, Va. 22320. . . . Area finishers in Sunday's Bethesda Chase 20K: Robert Yara, 65:00; Dave Lowe, 1:14:53; George Myers, 1:16:21. . . . The weekend's top finishers:
RASAC Polar Bear 5K At Street
Males: 1. James Pryde, 15:51; 2. Nathan Boyer, 16:08; 3. James Otte, 16:16; 4. Mark Bogardy, 16:44; 5. Eric Estrada, 16:58; 6. Todd Ashley, 17:03; 7. Rick Stewart, 17:19; 8. Matt Piotrowski, 17:34; 9. Edwin Morales, 17:35; 10. Rick Schmidt, 18:01. Masters: 1. Tim McDermott, 18:13.
Females: 1. Marianne Jensen, 18:13; 2. Margaret Cooper, 19:34; 3. Donna Lewis, 20:26; 4. Mary Ann Zuckerman, 20:33; 5. Angela Parrish, 20:55; 6. Veronique Hauschild, 21:12; 7. Barbara Johnson, 21:29; 8. Kathy Richards, 21:41; 9. Michelle Apland, 22:22; 10. Cathleen Cosenza, 22:33. Masters: 1. Mary Ann Zuckerman.
Myers Memorial 8K At Brooklyn
Males: 1. Doug Mock, 24, 24:37; 2. Pat O'Brien, 24, 24:48; 3. Brad Uhlfelder, 30, 24:52; 4. Tom Stevens, 36, 25:16; 5. Dave Berardi, 31, 25:21; 6. Ken Fowler, 26, 25:57; 7. Michael Sterling, 31, 26:35; 8. Nathan Boyer, 30, 26:41; 9. Jason Cox, 20, 26:46; 10. Neville Anderson, 30, 27:05. Masters: 1. Eric Gryaki, 43, 29:41. Team: 1. U.S. Postal Service.
Females: 1. Maria Pazarentzos, 30, 28:58; 2. Charlotte Thomas, 35, 29:21; 3. Marianne Jensen, 29, 29:47; 4. Maureen Hall, 27, 30:01; 5. Nancy Gugerty, 24, 30:13; 6. Marge Rosasco, 43, 30:20; 7. Barbara Willig, 29, 32:06; 8. Julie Caprio, 31, 32:36; 9. Pam Foley, 32, 33:06; 10. Kapja Von Tiesenhauser, 18, 33:24. Masters: 1. Marge Rosasco.