The Clyde's American 10K, an event that ushers in both the Howard County running season and marks the start of Columbia lakefront festivals, was held Sunday, April 14 in downtown Columbia.
"Since I've taken it over, we've had sunshine every time," said fifth-year race director Dennis Albright.
This was the 35th annual race and it was held even though Clyde's restaurant, the sponsor, remains closed for renovations. It was announced the restaurant hopes to open around April 22.
Columbia's Kyle Stanton, 22, a graduate of Hammond High School, successfully defended his men's title in 31 minutes, 27.68 seconds. His time was 34 seconds faster than a year ago.
"First, he was the size of a man. Then he was the size of a speck, and then I couldn't see him any more," said Andrew Madison, of Edgewater, who finished in second place with a time of 32:52.44.
Katie Ogden, 23, of Owings, Md., pulled away from Kelly Westlake to win the women's race in 38:14.74. Ogden was the 22nd finisher overall.
There were 1,935 registered runners and 1,729 finishers in the 10K, which begins and ends on Little Patuxent Parkway in downtown Columbia. An accompanying one-mile fun run also was held. Both of the events are organized by the Howard County Striders.
The Clyde's-Striders partnership is one of the longest in local racing circles.
The race itself brings together the ultra competitive, the causal runner, families and friends. Grandparents pushed strollers in the fun run.
Clyde's is known for its post-race buffet. Picnic blankets dotted the sloping hill near the restaurant as the runners chowed down while waiting for the awards ceremony.
"I thought it was a great course," said Paige Walton, who was running her first Clyde's. "I've always heard it's a great race, but it was always, 'Oh, it's closed or oh, it's come and gone.' "
This year Walton timed it right and she invited Mary Beth Kuchno, another teacher at Glenelg Country School to join her.
Both were beaming after the race.
So were many others doing the same.
Ben Abtachi and Mo Shahegh posed with five "mostly" family members for a commemorative photo.
More of a bicycle rider, this was Abtachi's first Clyde's.
"I like the setting and the way they organized it, and this was the right time to run," he said. "This is my New Year as well, the starting of the spring."
Nowruz, the Persian New Year, was March 20.
While Sunday was the first Clyde's for many, other runners are race veterans.
Arleen Dinneen and her son, Tim Kvech, have been running 35 years. They didn't do the first few Clyde's but they have done many since then.
Mentally counting her stack of Clyde's T-shirts, Dinneen guessed she's participated in at least 15 of the races.
Clyde's will always hold very special memories for Atholton High School principal Jennifer Clements. She has run Clyde's "five or six" times, but she missed last year's race because she gave birth to her son, James, that day.
Clements' sister, Denise D'Antuono, gave her last year's Clyde's shirt as a remembrance.
With his grandparents providing the power, James, participated in Sunday's fun run. His mother and aunt did the 10K.
Race results can be found at http://www.striders.net.
Howard County Strider Jim Carbary contributed to this story.