Bob Cawood: Now is the time to test your fall marathon training | RUNNING COMMENTARY

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Runners make their way down Main Street during the inaugural Annapolis Running Festival on March 11.

If you are preparing for a fall marathon, you are now in crunch time. There are only so many weeks left to get your long runs in to set the foundation for the marathon distance.

Months are spent going from the 10-mile distance and up, leading to multiple weekends of 20-mile long runs with a recovery run the next day. It is not easy, but neither is the marathon if you do it right.


Some of the runs will seem easy, some hard and some will be a non-event. But all of them are important as they expose the runners to all of the variables that may happen on marathon race day.

It can sometimes be a little boring to do long training run after long training run. Thankfully the racing calendar offers multiple opportunities to run long distance races to gauge the effort needed for the fall marathon.


Two recent local runs were the next step in the marathon testing phase, to which local runners flocked to ensure they are on the right track.

Up first was the Charles Street 12-Miler, held Sept. 10 on a sticky day with increasing temperatures, which required runners to thread the needle between effort and exhaustion.

This 12-miler is a point-to-point race that runs south on Baltimore’s iconic Charles Street. Runners start in Towson and head south to Baltimore City. This year, approximately 1,300 runners finished the race, including many from the Annapolis area.

Local standouts from Annapolis included Maria Shields of Davidsonville, who was the winner of the 70-79 age group with a strong time of 2 hours, 5 minutes and 48 seconds. Sean Kelly of Glen Burnie was runner-up in the male 30-39 age group, crossing the line in 1:08:09.

Frank Bahus of Severn placed second in the male 60-69 age group with a time of 1:34:26, while Hank Reiser of Edgewater right behind, taking third in the same age group in 1:40:27. Runner-up in the male 70-79 age group with a time of 1:56:17 was Tom DeKornfeld of Annapolis.

Another test was the Parks Half Marathon in Montgomery County, which also held September 10. Conditions conspired to make a tough test of what is usually a pleasant run through various Montgomery County parks, including Rock Creek.

Among the 1,089 finishers this year was local runner Besufikad Kidane of Laurel in a speedy 1:22:12 for 20th overall. Also representing Anne Arundel were Beata Gomez of Severn in 2:09:38 and Patrick Pryal of Annapolis in 2:23:41 and Emily High of Edgewater in 2:32:18.

Training through the summer in all kinds of conditions is a difficult task. Other people are having exciting Friday nights while the runner is conserving energy for the long run. But if one wants to take on the challenge of the marathon distance and excel at the race, this type of training ground is necessary.


Indeed, a prospective marathoner knows they are trained up when they can run 10 miles at any time and in any weather, simply by lacing up their shoes, grabbing their water bottle and heading out on the lonely road to test their mettle.

Running festival

You still have an opportunity to determine where you are in your marathon training by competing in half-marathon distance during the Asics Susquehanna River Running Festival, presented by University of Maryland Upper Chesapeake Health in Havre De Grace.

If you are not training for a marathon you can join in on the fun with a 5K or 10K. A 10K is a little over six miles and compared to a half marathon it can be seen as “half the distance and twice the fun.”

The Susquehanna River Running Festival is a true run through history with the unique opportunity to cross the usually closed to pedestrian traffic Hatem Bridge that spans the Susquehanna River.

The half marathon takes runners on a tour of historic Havre De Grace across the Susquehanna River to Perry Point and back again, finishing up in Tydings Park. Runners also get to tour Garrett Island, which is interestingly the remnants of what is believed to be an ancient volcano.

It is named after John W. Garrett, the late president of the B&O Railroad who was deeply involved in the formation of Johns Hopkins Hospital and for whom Garrett County also honors.


This race is also a major fundraiser for the Al Cesky Scholarship Fund, which annually provides college scholarships totaling $50,000 to local scholar-athletes. This program has been in operation for the past 35 years and has awarded over $1 million in scholarships.

For those in training, the race not only offers you mileage but a destination to shake up your routine and see how your summer of training will reward you in the fall. And after the race, all runners are invited to attend the annual Susquehanna Wine and Seafood Festival, which is a great way to spend the day.

For information visit

Anthony’s 5K Run

Anthony’s 5K Run will be held Oct. 1 in Stevensville. It is named in honor of Anthony Reno Jr., a high school student who silently became addicted to opioids after a doctor prescribed them.

Anthony’s 5K Run benefits the Giving The Edge Foundation, which helps young people grow into successful, caring, responsible and productive adults by building partnerships and community support through a variety of programs. This organization currently serves about 10,000 youth and families in and around Queen Anne’s County.

Anthony’s 5K Run will start at The Edge Arena, traverse through Terrapin Park and return to The Edge Arena where runners can participate in a family fun event.


Anyone 18 and under can run or walk for free. For information, please visit