There are three H's of distress in summertime running - heat, humidity and hills. Sunday's Charm City Run 20 Miler on the Northern Central Trail presented only two.
Two out of three isn't bad, but it was enough to slow the field of 273 runners in its ninth annual north-to-south running along the trail.
With a race distance between a half-marathon and marathon, the 20-miler has become a routine stop for many preparing for the Baltimore Marathon festival (Oct. 13). Unlike Baltimore's marathon course, however, there are no hills to climb. It is a one-way run on a slight downward slope from Freeland to the trail's southern terminus at Ashland Road.
Humidity and the absence of a cooling breeze made conditions tough Sunday.
"The humidity was perhaps the worst I've ever gone through in years," said Jerry Henderson, of Bel Air, the winner of the 45-49 age group.
Henderson, who was 13th overall in 2:14:01, was one of two age-group winners from Bel Air. Ronald Keith was the other; he finished first in the 50-54 age group in 2:43:42.
Sergio Flores of Abingdon placed 21st overall in 2:20:33 and was third in the 20-29 age group. Zach Huffman of Abingdon was 30th in 2:27:48; he was the runner-up in the 45-49 age group.
Third-place finishes went to Brad Roberts in men's 60-64 in 3:05:44; Robin Patalon in women's 45-49 in 3:03:33; and Emily Casola in women's under-20, 3:18:10.
Graham Peck, 23, of Lutherville, led the men's field in 1:51:48. Jackie Truncellito, 29, of Baltimore, led the women in 2:15:51.
Collegiate Cross Country
Elizabeth Tauber of Bel Air led Towson University in its opener, the Baltimore Metro Meet, Aug. 31 at Oregon Ridge Park. She finished sixth in 19:10 to lead the Tigers to second place behind Johns Hopkins. Hannah McKenzie of Bel Air placed 13th in 20:08 for Towson. Shea Staab of Fallston was the no. 5 finisher for Goucher in 22:48.
Megan Schott, a North Harford alumna, was the No. 2 finisher for Mount St. Mary's in the Lehigh Invitational Saturday. She placed 28th over a 6K course in 24:00.
John Carroll grad Ben Pickett ran his first collegiate race for UMBC in the Spider Open in Mechanicsville, Va., Saturday. He placed 45th in 16:31 over a 5K course.
Jennifer Bower of Bel Air was the No. 2 finisher for Frostburg State Saturday in the Galen Piper Cross Country Challenge at Shippensburg, Pa.
Billy Steele, of Conowingo, led Wilmington University in its opener Saturday, the Delaware Valley College Invitational. Steele, a senior, won by 11 seconds over an 8K course in 28:03.
In Races Elsewhere
Mike McMonagle of Bel Air won the Coyote Ridge 50K Trail Run at Muir Beach, Calif., Saturday. A Navy ensign assigned to San Diego, he completed the 31-mile course in 4:47:46.
Zach Zander, of Havre de Grace, ran 1:29:38 in the Virginia Beach Rock N Roll Half Marathon Sunday, placing 77th among 10,250 finishers. Three Harford women bettered the two-hour mark in the 13.1-mile event: Frannie Dinatale, 1:52:23; Ashley Butler, 1:56:40; and Erika Abbey, 1:59:14.
Mark Pickett won the 12-15 age group in 19:59, and his dad Larry Pickett placed second in the 50-59 age group in 23:46 in the Jerry Martin Memorial Cross-Country Run 5K in Owings Mills Aug. 26.
Megan DiGregorio of White Marsh won the women's race of the St. Louis the King 10K Sunday in Ellicott City. She ran 40:38, leading the field of 94 women by 4 minutes.
Sept. 8 - Dominator 5K and 10K, Forest Hill, 5K at 7:45 a.m. and 10K at 8:45, http://www.eliteracemangement.com
Sept. 8 - Bridget and Bradley Heart Run 5K, Annie's Playground, Fallston, 8 a.m., 410-335-8360
Sept. 9 - Run to Remember 5K, Baltimore's World Trade Center, 8:46 a.m., http://www.CharmCityRun.com