Marathon, Race for Cure will fill city streets

Events next 2 Saturdays about charity, challenges

Running

October 11, 2001|By Paul McMullen | Paul McMullen,SUN STAFF

At the peak of the American running boom that was sparked by Frank Shorter's marathon gold medal in the 1972 Olympics, the 1980 Maryland Marathon attracted 2,800 entrants.

Cable television, the Internet and super-sized fries have supposedly turned society sedentary. So what's behind the more than 6,300 who will pay to labor through the 26.2-mile test at the Baltimore Marathon Festival on Oct. 20, and the 25,000 who are expected in town Saturday for the 3.1-mile Komen Maryland Race for the Cure?

Many who will take to Baltimore's streets for those events lack the cardiovascular development needed to make their mark on the roads, but figuratively speaking, they've got a lot of heart.

They're among the masses who aren't out to lower a personal best, but instead will raise funds for an assortment of charities.

They range from Keith Brantly, an Olympian who will make the Comcast Baltimore Marathon his second long-distance race in as many weeks, to Pat Yevics-Eisenberg, a Baltimore woman who waited until she was nearly eligible for the 50-and-over category before she entered a footrace.

Yevics-Eisenberg got hooked on running two years ago, when she entered the Komen Maryland Race for the Cure to honor her 81-year-old mother, Margaret, a breast cancer survivor. On Saturday, she will enter the Komen race again; a week later, at age 51, Yevics-Eisenberg will make Baltimore her first marathon.

Regardless of whether Yevics-Eisenberg meets her goal of 4 hours, 20 minutes, she will raise $1,900 for the Johns Hopkins Children's Center. She's one of 12 "Hopkins Heroes" who pledged to raise money for the state's only acute-care hospital for children.

"Throughout the course of my life, I've bought Girl Scout cookies and faithfully given wedding and bar mitzvah presents," said Yevics-Eisenberg, a director at the Maryland State Bar Association. "My husband and I have no children, and I guess this is my turn to ask for help. I sent out a handful of letters, and people have been very accommodating."

Brantly was the top American marathoner in the 1996 Olympics and won big prize money in 1998 but stopped competing after last year's U.S. Olympic trials. Now 39, he'll run four marathons in a little more than five months, raising money for local charities and to combat Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.

"I have ADHD, and so does my son," Brantly said. "I'm probably only running 20-25 miles per week, so I'm going about this the opposite way, putting races before training."

Brantly, who lives in Jacksonville, Fla., spoke from the Atlanta airport during a layover Monday, a day after he finished 205th in the Twin Cities Marathon in Minnesota.

His Charity for Challenge, which has raised $8,610 to date, began July 8 in San Francisco, where he placed 34th in the Chronicle Marathon.

In each race, Brantly is the last person to cross the starting line; for every runner he beats to the finish, GNC Pro Performance donates $1.

Brantly will run in Baltimore for ADHD, Special Olympics of Maryland and the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, a national presence at road races through its Team in Training program.

Locally, Team in Training has offered coaching for 77 marathon hopefuls who've committed to raise $1,400 apiece. Add 12 teams it has entered in the four-person GEICO Direct marathon team relay, and Team in Training expects to raise $200,000 at the Baltimore Marathon Festival.

The Komen Maryland Race for the Cure, the local leg on a national effort that raised $82 million for breast cancer research last year, is more fun run and walk than road race. Fewer than 10 percent of Saturday's entrants paid an additional $5 to get an official time.

Marathon facts

What: Baltimore Marathon Festival

When: Oct. 20. Marathon starts at 8:30 a.m. A 5K (3.1-mile) race starts at 9 a.m.

Where: Start and finish at PSINet Stadium. The 26.2-mile course takes a counterclockwise route through Baltimore.

Marathon entrants: More than 6,300

Information: 410-377-8006 or 800-487-0670, or visit the Web site thebaltimoremarathon.com

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