It's no wonder Holly Fredericksen has fallen in love with the marathon.
In her first race at the grueling 26.2-mile distance last October, the 2006 Tabb High School graduate placed second among 763 competitors in her 20-24 age group and 12th overall among the 8,698 female finishers at the 2010 Marine Corps Marathon with a time of 2 hours, 59 minutes and 3 seconds.
Now the latest. In her second race — Oct. 9 at the prestigious Chicago Marathon — Fredericksen came through with another sterling performance. She placed fifth in her age group out of 1,468 competitors and bettered her previous time by more than 2 minutes with a 2:56:47 showing.
Those are amazing performances for someone who just wanted to try something different other than the 5K and 10Ks she was used to running in high school and in college at James Madison University.
Blessed with endurance as a runner, she's now hooked on the marathon.
"I love running the marathon. It's something I was made to do," she said on Saturday from her new home in North Carolina, where she's a first-year English teacher at Eastern Guilford High School near Burlington.
As for her time in the Chicago Marathon, she called it "O.K., but I was hoping to do a little better — like the low 2:50s."
"But I was still pretty excited about how I did considering the circumstances," she added. "I was fighting a cold and I made some mistakes in pacing myself."
Attribute the pacing mistakes to being a newcomer to the marathon. She didn't start training for her first one until after graduating from James Madison University with a master's degree in secondary education in May.
"The best is yet to come," Fredericksen says. "My dream goal, which may be a reach, is to make it to the Olympic Trials (someday). I'm still young for a marathon runner."
To achieve her ultimate goal, she has thought about taking a year off to concentrate on training harder and improving her times.
Her interest in running goes back to her childhood days when her dad, Gary, got her started in the sport. The longtime runner also spurred her interest in the marathon, leading to their both competing at the Marine Corps and Chicago marathons.
The top-seeded Virginia Crusaders (11-0) gift-wrapped two touchdowns for the Virginia Jaguars but still prevailed, 20-14, in the opening round of the Mason Dixon Football League playoffs Saturday night at Wanner Stadium in Williamsburg.
The Crusaders advanced to face the No. 4 Arbutus (Md.) Big Red in the league semifinals at 7 p.m. Saturday at Wanner Stadium.
Early in the third quarter, the Crusaders led 20-0 before the Jaguars capitalized on two Crusader turnovers. They scored on 25-yard fumble return and recovered a ball in the end zone for another TD after a bad snap.
The Crusaders took a 7-0 lead in the first quarter on a 30-yard touchdown pass from Scorpio Brown to Dion Johnson and the PAT kick by Sean Jackson. Their other TDs came on 25-yard pass from Garcia Whigham to John Washington and a 10-yard run by Johnson.
Hubert Hart of Hampton rolled one of the highest series by a senior bowler in Peninsula history Sept. 28 at Sparetimes.