As a cross country and track runner, I am astonished that a first-time runner won the Baltimore Marathon ("Kenyan Muange wins Baltimore Marathon in his first race at that distance," Oct. 15).
Having never run a marathon before, I can't say I know what it feels like from personal experience. But I do know the difficulty of trying to pace yourself correctly and push past the pain that hits you in the middle of a race. From what my coach tells me, your legs begin to go numb from the constant pounding on the road. It's incredible that Mr. Muange was able to position himself near the front of the pack and then pull ahead to win the race.
It is also unbelievable that the top three finishers finished within six seconds of each other. Even in high school 5 kilometer races, you rarely see the front runners finish together; one of them always breaks away, finishing a good 10 to 20 seconds ahead of the rest.
Finally, I would like to congratulate teacher and cross-country coach Dave Berdan on his early lead, 10th- place overall finish, and first-place American finish. It is unfortunate than no American has ever won the Baltimore Marathon, but the encouragement that bystanders offer American runners shows true patriotism.
Amanda English, Forest Hill