Ken Fowler confirms what many area runners have been saying since the Men's U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials in April: that the performance of the Maryland contingent was exceptional.
"I was really surprised when I was looking over the results that Maryland did that well," said Fowler, 26, the winner of this year's Oriole Advocates Home Run 8K in 24 minutes, 35 seconds. "Being such a small state, what Maryland did was phenomenal. What is more interesting is if you consider that Colorado's third-place finisher [Chris Chattin] is a longtime Marylander."
Although none of the runners from Maryland made the Olympic team that will compete in Barcelona, Spain, at the Summer Games, Chris Fox (seventh) and Jim Hage (eighth) were among the top 10. Considering that almost half the field failed to complete the marathon, the fact that the entire Maryland contingent -- Tom Stevens was 17th, Darrell General 30th, Robert Yara 38th and Brian Ferrari 48th -- did makes the performance the more impressive.
Like many others, Fowler couldn't help but notice. But it wasn't until he scored the marathon as a team race, using both cross country style and TAC style, that he realized how well Maryland did.
Cross-country scoring counts the finishes of the top five finishers on each team, and low score wins. TAC scoring counts the total time of the finishers.
Maryland outpointed Colorado and California, the states with the next-best finishes, in both formats.
Fowler, whose best distances are four miles, 8K and 10K, takes interest in the marathon despite the fact that he has run in and completed only one marathon.
"I did the old Maryland Marathon, the one with Satyr Hill," Fowler said. "It was my one and only marathon. It's piquing my interest, but hopefully, I'm smart enough not to do it too soon."
Many marathoners go to the 26-mile, 365-yard distance when their performances in lesser distances drop off.
This year, Fowler, who works for Westinghouse Corp., finished 14th in the Shamrock 8K in Virginia Beach, Va., and sixth in the Crustacean Crawl at Goucher College.
"I think it's an interesting kind of race," Fowler said about the Crustacean Crawl, "and the distance, being four miles, and the fact that it is run in the evening make it that much more enticing. It's not as stressful as a 10K. The Constellation [Classic 10K] ended quite a few races in a row for me this spring."
Scored by either cross country style, where place is the criterion and the low score wins, or TAC style, where total time determines the winner, the top five Maryland runners at the Men's U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials would rank first. Following are team scores and times for the top five runners from Maryland and those from Colorado and California, its two closest
State .. .. Score .. ..Total time
Maryland .. 100 .. .. .11:47:03
Colorado .. 119 .. .. .11:55:44
California .121 .. .. .11:57:12