Around block again

Marathon: On the streets of Baltimore, on the track for the Terps, Chris Chattin has run. His latest jaunt takes the 37-year-old to another locale: the Baltimore Marathon.


October 15, 2001|By Paul McMullen | Paul McMullen,SUN STAFF

Chris Chattin is going on a sentimental journey Saturday.

Chattin last ran a marathon in 1996, but this year he picked up his weekly mileage and planned his training to peak his fitness on Oct. 20, the date of the inaugural Baltimore Marathon Festival. He was bitten by the long-distance running bug in 1983, when he finished third in the Maryland Marathon as a teen-ager, and the 37-year-old is eager to revisit some of the locales that started him on a career that included two appearances in the U.S. Olympic trials.

"My first running club was the Baltimore Road Runners," Chattin said. "I grew up in Reisterstown and I live in Columbia, but I still consider Baltimore my hometown. I haven't run a marathon in five years, and the biggest reason for this comeback is that it's a hometown race. I wanted to be part of it."

Chattin was a good but hardly great performer at Franklin High and the University of Maryland. He broke 16 minutes on the fabled cross country course at the old Hereford Invitational in 1981, and was a walk-on at College Park when the Terps were still a force in track and field.

The longer the race, the more of a force Chattin, 5 feet 7, 130 pounds, became. He ran 10,000 meters in 30 minutes, 48 seconds on the track for Maryland, but he found his real niche on the roads.

Chattin was a Maryland freshman in spring 1983 when he entered the Maryland Marathon, which had been postponed the previous autumn by inclement weather. He placed third in 2:29:50.

His breakthrough came in 1988, when he toured the Shamrock Marathon in Virginia Beach in 2:17:01, which remains Chattin's lifetime best. That effort earned him a berth in the Olympic trials, where he was the third-youngest man in the field. A 10th-place finish at the U.S. nationals in 1991 qualified Chattin for the 1992 trials. He was unable to finish the 1988 trials, and was 24th in '92.

"The major focus of my running was to make the trials," Chattin said. "I didn't have any aspirations of making the team."

Logging 100-mile weeks, Chattin broke 2:20 three times, and 2:22 seven times. A win at Memphis in 1990 provided him his biggest cash prize, $2,000, and though he was never in a position to become a full-time professional, Chattin immersed himself in the sport of running.

Chattin and his wife, Carina, married in 1989. Carina is from Sweden, and their 20-month-old son is named for Anders Garderud, who set a world record in the 3,000-meter steeplechase while taking gold at the 1976 Olympics.

A credit analyst for a telecommunications company, Chattin won the Annapolis 10-Miler in August in 54:54. That's a pace of 5:30 a mile, slightly faster than he has to maintain to break 2 hours, 25 minutes, his goal for the Comcast Baltimore Marathon.

It's about a decade too late for Chattin to take a shot at winning Baltimore. He plans to run with training partner Mark Gilmore, who stood out at Westminster High and the Naval Academy. They take longer runs on Columbia's bike paths, do speed work at Long Reach High School and prepare for Baltimore's up-and-down course with tempo runs on roads near Gateway Business Park.

"Carina and I have Anders," said Chattin, who was second in the JFX 8-K Express yesterday. "Mark [Gilmore] has three kids. We do our bread and butter workouts on weekends."

Marathon facts

What: Baltimore Marathon Festival

When: Saturday. Marathon and marathon team relay start 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 on the Web

Chattin file

Age: 37

Home: Columbia

Marathon debut: Third in Maryland Marathon in 1983

Personal best: 2:17:01 at 1988 Shamrock, Virginia Beach, Va.

Baltimore goal: "I hope to break 2:25. I try with Mark Gilmore, and we're hoping to run together."

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