Gemmill hits milestone -- 700 races


January 24, 1995|By Michael Reeb | Michael Reeb,Sun Staff Writer

As far as streaks are concerned, Sunday's Hickory 7-Miler was but a step in Bernie Gemmill's quest to run 1,000 races, but it was a milestone, nonetheless.

The race, part of the Renaissance AllSports Athletic Club's Snowflake Series, was his 700th.

"It was kind of a joke back in January 1988 when I ran my 400th race. I was kidding that I was going to retire," says Gemmill, 42, who finished 10th among the men Sunday. "Now, I tell people I'd like to run a thousand. But I have no intention of stopping. I like to run too much. I'm just going to keep on running."

His race career began slowly with five races in 1978, and he gradually stepped up the pace.

"The last two years, I've run 35 races each year," he says. "The year before, it was 45 or 48. My highest was 55. But I'm into camping right now. I have a wife and two boys and I like to keep them happy. If I have a choice between a race and camping, I'll go camping. I missed, I think, two races last year to go camping."

The 700 races have taken him to a host of locations -- he say the now-defunct Jim Thorpe Marathon in Carlisle, Pa., was his favorite run -- and have been a variety of distances.

"I run anywhere from the marathon down to a quarter of a mile," says Gemmill, who works for the state as a recorder of deeds in Harford County. "I ran a quarter of a mile a couple of years ago in 64 flat. I was 40 years old at the time.

"I do quarters, a lot of 5Ks, the 5-mile, 8Ks, a lot of 10Ks, a lot of half-marathons. I haven't run a marathon, I think, since '88. I haven't had time to train. It's 13.1 miles too far."

Not surprisingly, he has amassed a marathon of memories over the span. Among his recollections:

* His first race: "It was the John D. Worthington Half-Marathon in October '78. They started it at Harford Community College. It was big the first couple of years and then they canceled it after so many years."

* Favorite race: "It's probably the Hickory because I like hills. It has three or four hills on that course."

* Most unusual: "The Harmony Half-Marathon. I was in like fifth or sixth place and the first five or six runners went off course and I won by default. I've only won four or five races all these years."

He does 30 to 40 miles of training a week.

"I do track work on Tuesday night," he says. "I had a streak one year. I ran three years straight [every day], no matter what. But that's kind of died off."


Ronnie Wong, 48, of Catonsville, completed the Bermuda Marathon in 2:58:52. He was the third master and 12th overall finisher. It was his 11th Bermuda. . . . The Howard County Striders will award the John Scherer Scholarships to a graduating high school senior male and female from Howard County who competed in cross country or track, had outstanding academic credentials and demonstrated leadership. The scholarships honor John Scherer, a Glenelg graduate and an NCAA champion, and are each worth $500. Applicants must complete a form, available from guidance counselors, by April 15. For information, contact Nadia Wasserman at (410) 381-6385. . . . The top finishers in Sunday's Hickory 7-Miler:

Males: 1. Jeff Hinte, 42:31; 2. Rob Torres, 42:56; 3. Greg Thompson, 44:08; 4. Nathan Boyer, 46:01; 5. J. Tobin, 46:10; 6. Kevin Baur, 46:41; 7. Dave Starnes, 48:50; 8. T. Hutchins, 49:14; 9. Ed Geisendaffer, 49:46; 10. Bernie Gemmill, 50:02.

Females: 1. Cindy Carpenter, 46:57; 2. Margaret Starnes, 48:28; 3. Angie Parrish-Hoover, 54:05; 4. Cathy Cosenza, 55:41; 5. Kacie Remeto, 57:51; 6. Barb Stroud, 58:58; 7. Margy Rawle, 59:07; 8. Judith Gilbert, 61:10; 9. Robin Edie, 67:34.

Coming events

Saturday, DCRRC 10K Track Race, Fairfax, Va., 10:45 a.m., (703) 241-0395.

Sunday, RASAC North Harford Loop 10K, North Harford High, 8 a.m., (410) 836-1784.

Sunday, Super Bowl 5K Run, Wilmington, Del., 11 a.m., (302) 654-6400.

Sunday, WRRC Bear Run Four-Miler, Westminster, noon, (410) 848-5423.

Sunday, HCS Winter Series #4, Jeffers Hill Neighborhood Center, 2 p.m., (410) 964-1998.

Feb. 4, DCRRC Belle Haven 25K, Alexandria, Va., 9 a.m., (703) 241-0395.

Feb. 4, Manchester 10K, Manchester, Pa., 10 a.m., (717) 767-1402.

Feb. 4, BRRC Indoor Track and Field Meet, Catonsville Community College, 6-9 p.m., (410) 789-7560.

Feb. 5, RASAC Friends 5-Miler, Forest Hill, 8 a.m., (410) 879-9812.

Feb. 5, BRRC Cherry Pie 10-Miler, Patterson Park, 9 a.m., (410) 243-3153.

Feb. 5, Snowball 5-Mile Run, Wilmington, Del., 10:30 a.m., (302) 478-5660.

Feb. 5, WRRC Treat Shop Eight-Mile Shuttle Relay, Westminster, noon, (410) 848-4562.

Feb. 5, HCS Winter Series #5, Thunder Hill Elementary School, 2 p.m., (410) 964-1998.

Feb. 12, RASAC Tuneup for Md.-DC Club Championship 10-Miler, Aberdeen, 8 a.m., (410) 272-4775.

Feb. 12, BRRC Valentine's 8-Miler, Loch Raven, 9 a.m., (410) 243-3153.

Feb. 12, Annapolis Striders' Valentine's Twosome Relay, Severna Park Middle School, 10 a.m., (410) 268-1165.

Feb. 12, Valentine's Day 5-Mile Couples Run, Wilmington, Del., 11 a.m., (302) 234-0918.

Feb. 12, Hampton Coliseum Half-Marathon, 5K, Hampton, Va., 1 p.m., (800) 800-2202.

Feb. 12, HCS Winter Series #6, Longfellow Elementary School, 2 p.m., (410) 964-1998.

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