Early, Nicholson rule Home Run 8K Weather cooperates for 5th annual run

April 05, 1993|By Michael Reeb | Michael Reeb,Staff Writer

Now if the weather only cooperates as well for Opening Day.

Slightly overcast skies, gentle winds and temperatures in the upper 30s -- nearly perfect running conditions -- greeted a field of 1,200 as Oriole Advocates president Jim Hedrick fired the starting gun for yesterday's fifth annual Oriole Advocates Home Run 8K.

Well, maybe it could have been a bit warmer, but as Stacey Nicholson, who won the women's division in 28 minutes, 8 seconds, said: "It didn't feel that cool out on the course."

Men's winner Greg Early, who ran sub-5-minute miles en route to a 24:54 finish, was also too hot to notice after his run on the out-and-back course from Oriole Park through Locust Point.

Early went out with a pack of runners that included second-place finisher Kevin Stover and third-place runner Scott Douglas, made his move shortly after the turnaround in front of Fort McHenry and gradually widened a lead that grew to 20 seconds by the finish.

"I didn't want to run harder than I had to, but then I saw Stover," said Early, who was alone with Douglas before the turnaround. "I wanted to be under 25 minutes."

Not only did he meet his goal, but he opened a lead of a block on Stover by the time the runners reached Conway Street on the return to Oriole Park.

Early, who ran a personal record 24:52 for 8 kilometers at last year's Bon Ton White Rose, had faced Stover at that race in York, Pa., and in the Brian's Run 10K in Philadelphia.

"I've run with Stover and Scott before and I've always done good when I run with them," Early, 23, said. "But Stover was getting close and I didn't want to risk getting in a battle with him."

Early, who ran track at Maryland before his graduation last May, said he chose to run in the Home Run rather than yesterday's Cherry Blossom 10-miler in Washington because he is more comfortable at shorter distances.

"I'm not ready for that [10-miler] yet," said Early, a resident of College Park who ran 800, 1,500 and 5,000 meters at Maryland. "Ten miles is a little too far right now.

"This year is the first year that I've really gotten up to 8K, 10K."

Nicholson was running her first race since she was sidelined in August by plantarfasciitis -- an inflammation of the sole of the foot. She finished 40 seconds ahead of 1992 Baltimore Sun Female Athlete of the Year Amanda White, a 17-year-old student at Dulaney.

"I didn't even think about it [winning the race]," said Nicholson, 30, of Baltimore. "I just went out with the intention of feeling good."

Nicholson took her lead when she made a move on White and third-place finisher Bea Marie Fritsch at the mile mark.

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