By James Moreland
June 2, 2012
For the Washington Running Report
The storms were thunderous the night before but the dawn brought a perfect morning. Ten of thousands of runners, walkers, and spectators came out for the serious business of raising money for the Cure. More than $11 million dollars was a proudly ambitious amount that was achieved. Much of the success of the huge event comes from the powerfully optimistic view of the people involved.
With work being done on the mall, the event began in a new spot with the running portion heading north on 15th street in the shadow of the Washington Monument and turning west onto Constitution. A little further along the way the walkers, who made up 80% of the field, waited for their turn onto the course that circled back around before heading south to Independence and back down to the regular finish line at 5th Street.
The event would continue to have a flood of participants flowing down the boulevard for hours after the start. The mood was joyous and hopeful with the color pink standing out as the color of survivors. There were 171 survivors listed among the 5K runners led by Judy Pickett, 48, of Cameron Park, CA and Kathleen Hammett, 40, of Hollywood, MD. Both of their times are elite times for their age group, finishing ninth and tenth overall. In the walk there were hundreds more survivors.
Women have been populating road racing at a greater and greater pace. In the last couple of years they have passed men in total numbers. It was little surprise that today’s event drew women at a two to one rate among the nearly five thousand finishers in the running portion.
There was a little confusion on the correct path from Constitution to Independence. At the finish line Martha Nelson improved by near a minute from last year’s seventh place to win it all in 17:59. Meghan Ridgley was again second but she was a minute slower than last year. Third place Mijiko Phelps was the top master in 19:43. Not far behind her in fifth place was the grandmaster favorite Dee Loughran, 53, in an excellent 19:55. She had the top age graded time with a superb 88.7%. Nelson and Pickett also exceeded the national standard of 80% for the women.
The top two men exceeded the national standard as well. Last year’s winner Wilson Komen improved on his race time to 15:28 but had to settle for the runner-up spot. Thomas Adam of Charlottesville, VA (left) looked calm strolling around the starting mats before the race. But when the race started he bolted away from everyone but Komen. His fine 15:16 was easily enough to be crowned champion.