Jumping into a new sport with both feet

Rick Bingham had tried his hand -- and feet -- at soccer, boxing and motocross, but it wasn't until eight years ago that he took up running.

Were it not for a few injuries, he may never had done that. But based on his success in the Twin Cities Marathon on Oct. 4 in Minneapolis-St. Paul, where he improved his marathon personal record by 10 minutes, he made a wise decision.


"I started playing soccer in high school, and when I got out of high school, I didn't do anything for a year," says Bingham, 37, of Parkville. "And then I got into boxing. I did that for a few years.

"After I stopped boxing, I started racing motorcycles, but then after a few injuries, I started playing soccer in the amateur leagues around Baltimore and Washington for about 10 years. I gave that up because of injuries and took up running. It's what I've enjoyed the most."


Bingham's 2-hour, 52-minute finish at Twin Cities broke the PR that he had set in the Baltimore Road Runner's Club's North Central Trail Marathon last year.

At Twin Cities, Bingham maintained a 6:20 pace through 23 miles.

"I was really surprised at how far I was able to go," he says. "I still was able go in [finish] comfortably, but my pace slowed to about 8 minutes."

That's why it is surprising that Bingham elected to do the New York City Marathon four weeks after he ran Twin Cities.

"I had never attempted that before," says Bingham, who finished New York in 3:08. "I ran three races in between [Twin Cities and New York], too. It didn't surprise me that I ran out of gas at 16 miles. But I had fun the rest of the race."

Will he stick with running or venture on to some other sport?

"Who knows?" Bingham says. "Anything could be interesting. I've always been an athlete; I've always been a bit of a competitor. I don't think bowling or playing pool would do it. Maybe I'll take them up when I'm 80."

JFK 50-miler


Chris Gibson, 39, of Pittsburgh became the first man to win three times outright in Saturday's 30th annual John F. Kennedy 50-mile ultramarathon from Boonsboro to Williamsport.

L Gibson, who will turn 40 Thursday, had won in 1988 and 1989.

Defending champion Laura Nelson, 27, of Hagerstown won the female division in 7:08:29 -- the second fastest time by a performer in the JFK.