MS doesn't slow Ralph's personal quest


November 23, 1993|By Michael Reeb | Michael Reeb,Staff Writer

She runs marathons and ultra-marathons and has run throughout the United States and parts of Canada.

She is on a quest to join an elite running group, whose members have run in at least 20 states.

And she suffers from multiple sclerosis.

On May 5, 1990, Chris Ralph lay in a hospital, her eyesight poor and unable to use her arms. It is only because she suffers from the less-debilitating form of MS that five days later she was able to walk and two weeks later able to run a mile.

And perhaps it is because she suffers from multiple sclerosis that she has been so fervent in her quest to run in all 50 states. In fact, it is only after 20 minutes of conversation about her cross-country odyssey that she mentions the fact that she has MS.

"I bring back pictures of me crossing the finish line and the doctor can't believe what I'm doing," Ralph, 42, says matter-of-factly. "I want to make a point that those of us who are ill are capable of doing things."

Saturday, she will be running in the Baltimore Road Runners Club's fourth annual Northern Central Trail Marathon. It will mark the 14th state in which she has run.

"I met a guy -- Jerry Herndon from Cabin Creek, W. Va., in Vancouver [British Columbia] two years ago while standing in line for a pasta dinner," says Ralph, who lives in Bothell, Wash. "He had run in every state and I was kind of intrigued by that. Immediately, I wanted to join the club.

"He got my address, and when I got home, he mailed me a packet of information with a list of all the marathons in the country. Every year, I send him a Christmas card and he sends me a list of marathons. Any time I go anywhere, I try to go to another state."

She is coming to Maryland by coincidence.

"I am going to Atlanta on business," Ralph says, "and I planned on doing the Gulfport [Miss.] Marathon. But the date was changed, and I looked up my list of marathons and here was one in Baltimore. And I thought, 'I'll go there.' "

She has run the Chicago, Boston and New York City marathons, as well as more obscure ones. "I ran a new one in Arizona -- the Pinewoods Ultra -- last year," she says. "My theory is if you go, you better get the most dollars per mile."

As such, the Northern Central Trail Marathon fits in well.

"Maybe I'll be the first person with MS to run in every state," she says. "And that might be a goal to me. I'm always looking for a way to draw attention to people with MS doing things."


Race director Dave Cooley says about the Northern Central Trail Marathon: "I wasn't sure what to expect in the first year. I guess it's become a grass-roots marathon. I think the scenery sells it, the fact that it's out on the trails." The race will be limited to 300 entries. . . . Chris Gibson, 40, of Pittsburgh is the first masters in the 31-year history of the John F. Kennedy 50 Mile to finish first. Former director and current statistician Buzz Sawyer finished Saturday's ultra-marathon in 11:36 after he had injured his heel two weeks ago. . . . Ronnie Wong of Catonsville finished the New York City Marathon in 3:16:41. . . . Area finishers in Sunday's Harrisburg Marathon: Paul Howarth, 22, Cockeysville; Robert Betz, 28, Cockeysville, 3:33:59. . . . The weekend's top finishers:


John F. Kennedy 50 Mile

At Boonsboro Males: 1. Chris Gibson, 6:35:51; 2. David Horton, 6:40:58; 3. Tom Smith, 6:44:48; 4. Tom Taylor, 6:45:30; 5. Gary Grilliot, 6:47:07; 6. David Lieb, 6:49:51; 7. Paul French, 6:52:54; 8. Jeff Tiegs, 6:54:08; 9. Jeff Hinte, 6:55:12; 10. Eric Clifton, 7:04:31.

Females: 1. Jennifer Girouard, 8:17:09; 2. Carolyn Showalter, 8:30:38; 3. Shannon Stein, 8:35:11; 4. Nina Wendling, 8:38:13; 5. Susan Briers, 8:42:59.

RASAC Thomas Run 7-Miler At Harford CC Males: 1. Nathan Boyer, 40:19; 2. Adam Morrison, 40:26; 3. Jim Otte, 42:50; 4. Joe Knisely, 45:31; 5. Todd Rumbaugh, 47:08.

Females: 1. Cindy Carpenter, 45:31; 2. Kim Fleming, 54:41; 3. Lydia Johnson, 55:00; 4. Michelle Edberg, Amy Altmann, Jen Englehart, 56:08.

Gobbler Dash 5K At Loyola College Males: 1. Neville Anderson, 32, 16:33; 2. Nate Hebel, 19, 17:08; 3. Maurice Pointer, 38, 17:15; 4. Ken Miller, 40, 17:25; 5. Bill Desmond, 42, 17:36; 6. Steve Reid, 38, 17:41; 7. Gabe Kaufman, 21, 18:09; 8. Chuck Pepersack, 30, 18:11; 9. Paul DeCamillo, 18,

18:18; 10. Bill Nesbitt, 37, 18:26.

Females: 1. Denise Knickman, 26, 19:33; 2. Patrice Malloy, 32, 20:11; 3. Michelle St. Laurent, 21, 20:32; 4. Laura Tebodo, 30, 20:51; 5. Valerie Guilfoil, 37, 21:47; 6. Brit Coffin, 21, 22:05; 7. Alice Margraff, 26, 22:31; 8. Meredith Brand, 16, 22:37; 9. Lisa Adelsberger, 29, 22:55; 10. Robin Brandt, 16, 23:04.


The DCC 5-Mile Stride for Scholarships At Dundalk CC Males: 1. Ken Fowler, 24:53; 2. James Pryde, 25:40; 3. Harry Goodman, 25:41; 4. Tom Brown Jr., 25:47; 5. Maurice Pointer, 27:00; 6. Bucky Sexton, 27:24; 7. Mark Bogardy, 27:33; 8. Keith Delauter, 27:56; 9. Steven Reid, 28:09; 10. Jonathan Dietrich, 28:13. Masters: 1. Pryde.

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