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Harsh winter weather forcing runners to race everywhere

Harford distance runners have had few opportunities to race during the harsh winter of 2015. Here's a summary of their few races over the past two weeks of capricious weather.

Shawn Loper of Bel Air finished second in the Olympic-distance race of the Tri-Yas Triathlon last Friday. Temperatures were pleasantly warm where the race was held, in the United Arab Emirates.

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Esther Buchser of Bel Air traveled to Texas, where she and 8,850 other runners competed in the Austin Half Marathon. She placed second in the women's 65-69 age group.

Harford County teachers Craig McLeod and Ben Krasnoff ran in the annual George Washington's Birthday Marathon Saturday in Beltsville – until it was terminated at mid-race by a heavy snowstorm.

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Several Harford runners were primed to race in the annual Maryland-D.C. RRCA Club Challenge 10 miler in Howard County Sunday, but the race was canceled, another victim of the weather.

Loper's runner-up finish came in an international triathlon in which 1,100 athletes from 66 nations competed on a man-made island in Abu Dhabi better known for Formula One auto racing. Loper, 36, earned an all-expense-paid trip to the race by placing fifth in the Nations Triathlon in Washington, D.C., Sept. 7.

One of 414 starters at the Olympic distance, he opened with a 1.5K swim in the 73-degree waters off Yas Island in 25:17. He biked 38.5K in 62 minutes then advanced several places over a 10K course in 41:20, one of the fastest run splits of the race. He finished in 2:12:55.

Temperatures were in the 60s on Feb. 15 when Buchser finished the Austin Half Marathon in 2:08:54, to place second among 26 women in her age group. By 2 minutes, she missed winning her age group for a third time in a metropolitan half-marathon in the past 12 months. In 2014, she won in New Orleans and Baltimore.

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McLeod and Krasnoff knew the weather history of the Washington's Birthday Marathon when they entered. It had been canceled last year because of snow and postponed for snow six days earlier this year. The race started at 10 a.m. Saturday, but a snowstorm hit an hour later.

"We got about 11 miles (into it) when they shut the race down," said McLeod. "The real marathon was the trip home. It took us about seven hours. All roads turned into parking lots."

In collegiate indoor track

Paige Chapman, a Manhattan College freshman, placed second in the 60-meter dash of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference meet in New York City Saturday. The Harford Tech alumna finished just 0.005-second behind the winner. She also placed fifth in the 200 and ran on the second-place 4x400 relay team.

Nia Alleyene of Aberdeen placed third in the triple jump in the North East Conference Championships in Landover Saturday. The Fairleigh Dickinson junior jumped 37-9 1/2, just 4 inches short of first place.

Kathy Kammerer, a C. Milton Wright grad, pole-vaulted 9 feet, 8 inches in the Capital Athletic Conference meet Saturday in Newport News, Va. The Salisbury University sophomore placed sixth. In the same meet, Matt Hoerr, also from CMW, ran 16:27 in the 5,000 and 9:32 in the 3000 for Salisbury. Taylor Nantz of Kingsville anchored the Salisbury women's distance medley relay team, which placed fourth.

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