Marylanders Chandini Bachman and Dan Zottarelli have learned to set their calendars by the New York City Marathon.
Bachman, a resident of Baltimore, and Zottarelli, who lives in Chestertown, are both in double digits for the New York Road Runners Club's annual 26-mile, 365-yard trek through the five boroughs of New York City -- Bachman having completed her 10th in 5 hours, 7 minutes, 20 seconds Sunday and Zottarelli finishing his 11th straight in 3:51.
Bachman, 40, did her first in 1979 after she decided to give up dance, something she had pursued since she was 12, and take up marathoning.
Zottarelli, 46, ran his first New York City Marathon on a lark, after having watched the race on television. It became a passion with a little help from some friends.
The race now is a fixture for both runners, something that helps each of them keep their focus throughout the year.
Bachman says, "To run the New York Marathon gives you a goal, why you keep training. On those days when you feel lethargic or crabby or are resistant to training, you say to yourself, 'If I go out today and do my training, it'll hurt less on Nov. 1.' "
Zottarelli, who raises money for the American Cancer Society through pledges for his New York City Marathon runs, says: "What's happened over the years is I've gotten some letters from cancer patients and I put them away. Every once in awhile, I pull one out and read it before I go out to run and that gets me pointed for my training run. Stories like that are not common but really touching."
Bachman began running marathons when she became a member of the Sri Chinmoy Centre, a spiritual community that encourages people to develop their potential through meditation, sports and community service.
"I run with the Sri Chinmoy team in the [New York City] marathon," Bachman says. "I had thought of running a marathon before that, but I never had the outer support to do it."
Zottarelli, a teacher at Kent County High School who coaches wrestling there and works as a dock master at Great Oak Marina in his spare time, had done some running before his decision to become a marathoner.
"I was basically running just to stay in shape in the off-season," Zottarelli says. "One year, we watched the race on a person's boat at Great Oak. Now, I was born in Brooklyn and my whole family still lives up there. After watching the race, I went out and ran 10 miles for the first time. I had trouble walking.
"Just as a joke, I thought I would try to get in the race [by lottery]. I went through the process of applying and, lo and behold, I got in. Suddenly six months later, I was running 60 miles a week. That sort of got me into it in a hurry."
The following year, fate added a new twist to his New York odyssey.
"That year, my grandmother passed away," Zottarelli says. "A husband and wife [Bob and Midge Edelman] at Great Oak said, 'What do you think about not only running the marathon this year but running it to make money for cancer?' "
In the succeeding 10 years, Zottarelli has taken pledges for each mile he runs in the New York City Marathon. He has raised more than $100,000 from his efforts, and also has served as president of the Kent County chapter of the American Cancer Society.
"This is real personal to me in that I have had relatives anfriends who have died from cancer," Zottarelli said Sunday night from New York. "Every year the problem gets bigger, especially in Maryland, where we have the highest level in the nation."
To contribute to Zottarelli's fund-raising effort, call radio station WCTR in Chestertown at (410) 778-1530. . . . Other Baltimore finishers in Sunday's New York City Marathon: Gary Pedroni, 2:55; Ronnie Wong, 3:11. . . . Entered in the 16th annual York White Rose Run 5-miler Nov. 14 in York, Pa.: U.S. Olympic marathoner Steve Spence of Chambersburg, Pa., and Bon Ton/York Newspaper Company 5-Miler winner Keith Dowling of Pittsburgh. For information, call Clay Shaw at (717) 764-1181. . . . Bill Nesbitt of Baltimore finished the Marine Corps Marathon in 3:07. . . . The weekend's top finishers:
Halloween Happening 8K Cross Country/Road Race At Oregon Ridge Park Males: 1. Tony Summerlin, 38, 28:38; 2. Eric Gyaki, 44, 29:20; 3. David Gouge, 34, 30:15; 4. Chris Sinclair, 24, 30:22; 5. Steven Reid, 37, 30:36; 6. Anthony Snead, 19, 30:52; 7. Mark Casteel, 32, 31:05; 8. Sal Lauria, 33, 31:11; 9. Erick Bergauist, 20, 31:29; 10. Dean Siedlecki, 36, 31:59. Masters: Gyaki.
Females: 1. Eleanor Simonsick, 34, 29:47; 2. Maureen Hall, 27, 29:49; 3. Bea Marie Fritsch, 25, 31:22; 4. Margaret Cooper, 37, 32:14; 5. Katja Von Tiesenhausen, 19, 32:51; 6. Hope Raschke, 21, 35:51; 7. Dee Nelson, 49, 37:09; 8. Lisa Berkin, 28, 37:29; 9. Karen Stolka, 40, 38:02; 10. Cece Cleary, 19, 38:07. Masters: 1. Nelson.