RRCA's convention comes to home track for first time

RUNNING

April 05, 1994|By Michael Reeb | Michael Reeb,Sun Staff Writer

This may come as a surprise, but when the Road Runners Club of America begins its 37th national convention Thursday in Arlington, Va., it will mark the first time that the national office has played host to the annual event.

It has come close, the Baltimore Road Runners Club was host in 1978, Montgomery County Road Runners Club in Rockville in 1987.

But were it not for a contractual problem, it might not be coming to the Washington area this year.

"The way it works is clubs bid to have the convention," said RRCA executive director Henley Gibble. "For instance, Rockville bid and competed with two or three other clubs the year it hosted the convention.

"It's sort of a fluke that we're doing it out of the national office

this year. Another club out West had bid for this year's convention but wouldn't sign an agreement."

Enter the national office and Gibble.

"We had to scramble to find hotel rooms," Gibble said, "but we've sold out the hotel. We have a record number of people coming to the convention. It looks like it's going to be a great success."

One of the highlights will be Safety Summitt III, a 90-minute panel discussion that will focus on women runners' safety, including how to prevent attacks. Panelists will include an FBI deputy director, the mother of a multi-use recreational trail murder victim and a U.S. Park policeman.

The safety summit is the brainchild of Gibble.

"I organized it and I'm moderating it," Gibble said. "It hasn't been this national a focus, but we have talked about women runners' )) safety for the last three or four years.

"I've done the summit locally twice, but this time I asked for money from Athletic Footwear to fund Safety Summit III on a national level. And we've opened it up to the public."

The summit is free, but there are fees for other convention workshops. For information, call (703) 836-0558.

RRCA in Baltimore

Inaugural BRRC president, Maryland Marathon commissioner and area race director Les Kinion remembers when the RRCA made its stop in Baltimore.

"It was in the midst of the big running boom," Kinion said. "The biggest thing I remember was there was a proposal from Seagrams that they would put in a million dollars if they could become a sponsor of some of the major events . . . it lost by one vote."

Kinion also recalls an accompanying race during that convention.

"We had a 20K race that ran from Liberty Street, up Park Avenue, up to Druid Hill Park, around Druid Hill Park and came back down," he said. "In those days, a 20K was a pretty big thing."

Briefly

Area finishers in the Lancaster Half-Marathon on March 27: Mark Rosasco, ninth, 75:10; Carole Rosasco (PR), 91:10; Bailey St. Clair, 93:01.

RRCA CONVENTION

When: Thursday through Sunday.

Where: Ritz Carlton Hotel, Pentagon City Mall, Arlington, Va.

Highlights: Women runners' Safety Summit III, club coaching workshop, course measurement seminar, awards reception and banquet. U.S. Olympic Committee president LeRoy Walker will deliver the keynote address at the banquet. Dr. Scott Eden of the Annapolis Striders will receive the 1993 Nike/Kurt Steiner Children's Development Running Award.

L Accompanying race: Northern Telecom Cherry Blossom 10-miler.

, Information: (703) 836-0558.

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