The Annapolis Striders are trying to put a racing team together again, and with that in mind their team member Candace Dickson registered at the last minute for the 34th annual Clyde's 10k, held Sunday.
She certainly started the race with considerable authority, seizing an early lead among the women at the top of that long first hill. But the Howard County racing team answered this challenge with its own weapon — Unsong Ostrowski, who relentlessly tracked Dickson through the first three miles. Seeing the lead collapsing, Ostrowski passed Dickson "with authority" around that point in the contest, and pulled away on that unforgiving climb up the hill on Route 108.
By the time she turned the corner into the Running Brook community, the race was over. Osstrowski cruised the remaining mile and a half and won with a personal record 38 minutes, 18 seconds.
She credited her success to coach Bobby Gessler, whose Tuesday morning track sessions have elevated the games of several of Howard County's top runners.
The men's race came down to a battle of attrition between Kyle Stanton, Carlos Renjifo and Dustin Meeker. The three fairly leapt up the initial hill at a blistering 5:15 pace and rapidly pulled away from the field.
At three miles, the wicked pace forced Meeker to fall back, leaving Stanton and Renjifo, who is captain of the Strider racing team, slugging it out up the long hill on Route 108. By the top, only Stanton was still standing, and he won the race by a margin of over 30 seconds (32:01).
Stanton runs for Villanova University and Clyde's marked the first time he had ever competitively run a 10k race.
Generally a marathoner, he came down to Columbia for the 10k to get in some speed work.
Peter Keating, the first master runner, watched the battle from far, far behind. After about three miles, though, the leaders had faded into the distance, and he had his hands full trying to race Kent Werner.
Keating finished in third in last year's 10k, but this year there was more competition and he was seventh overall (34:50), while Werner flashed into fourth place (34:23).
No stranger to Clyde's, Robyn Humphrey placed first among the master women. She ran almost the same time as last year, when she won the race outright, but this year she finished only fourth (40:13). Again, she faced more competition than last year. [Actually, Kelly Westlake was the first master woman to finish, but because she finished second overall (39:48), she won an overall award.]
Why the sudden increase in competition?
This year, the Striders sent out several waves of emails urging the local runners to sign up for Clyde's. And not competing with the Pikes Peek 10k in Rockville (two weeks later this year) also helped out. So, enhanced advertising and strategic scheduling led to the field closing out at 2,000 registrants the week before the race. Thanks to some beautiful spring weather on the morning of the race, most of those 2000 actually showed up and 1,798 finished. Clyde's of Columbia treated them to a fabulous post-race brunch at the lake shore of Lake Kittamaqundi.
Overall race winners received Clyde's beach chairs and beach mats, and gift certificates from Feet First of Hickory Ridge. Age-group winners received either beach mats or beach chairs.
The 2012 race marked the 34th running of the race, which has enjoyed the support of Clyde's of Columbia for all those years. Dennis Albright directed the event, with the able support of Howard County Strider volunteers and the Howard County Police.
2012 Clyde's 10k age-group winners:
1. Kyle Stanton (Columbia), 32:01
2. Carlos Renjifo (Columbia), 32:37
3. Dustin Meeker (Baltimore), 33:35