Runners looking for springtime motivation might want to consider a challenge by the American Running & Fitness Association.
Called Exercise Across America, the program is designed for athletes of all abilities, and you don't have to leave your neighborhood to take part.
"Basically, somebody chooses a state to exercise across," AR&FA; public information director Lisa Gunding said from the group's headquarters in Bethesda last week. "Every time they bike, row, swim or run, they write their mileage down. They're slowly tracking their mileage across the state or across the country, whatever that might be."
The rules are simple: Any aerobic sport may be used. Beginners might want to pick a smaller state, such as Rhode Island (65 miles), while veterans might opt for a larger one, such as Texas (838 miles).
The initiated might select a coast-to-coast trip (2,810 miles), but in any event, athletes record their daily mileage in an Exercise Across America log. When the goal is reached, the AR&FA; will send a commemorative certificate.
"We have always offered a challenge program since our inception in '68," Gunding said. "For the '90s, we wanted something that anyone at any level of exercise could be motivated by.
"Someone who is an avid runner could still use this as an exercise motivational tool or someone who is a beginner could take advantage [of it]. It wouldn't matter what aerobic sport they chose."
The cost is $7 per challenge. For information, call (800) 776-ARFA or write to AR&FA;, Challenge Department, 4405 East-West Highway, Suite 405, Bethesda, Md. 20814.
But Bob Ray ran
Saturday's Westminster Road Runners Club's Irish Spring 5K and 10K and Sunday's St. Patrick's Parade Shamrock Run 5K and the Renaissance AllSports Athletic Club's Kielbasa 6.1-Miler were not held because of inclement weather.
They're tougher in New York
Ted Peterson of the New York Harriers maneuvered the snow-covered and icy Central Park course Sunday to win the New York Road Runners Club Julius Caesar 4-mile run in 24 minutes, 38 seconds.
Only 108 competed from the original entry of 1,157.
Women's program set
For the third year, the Montgomery County Road Runners Club will hold a program for beginning women runners.
It begins May 15 and will consist of two weekly group training runs, one on Wednesday evenings and the other on Saturday mornings.
For information, call Dave Keaton at (301) 762-7656.