Bob Cawood on running: Competitors return again and again to legacy races | COMMENTARY

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Running is about repetition, which begets tradition in all its forms. The very act of running is repeating the same steps — left, right, breath, repeat — in harmony until the desired effect, be it miles or time, is achieved.

That repetitive concept that is the very definition of running also leads to testing oneself on the same courses throughout the decades. Which is why there are many legacy events — races that are fixtures and to which runners return again and again.


These runners aren’t coming back because they want the latest T-shirt or meal. No, they return because of the quality of the event and the chance to see where they are on a course they know all so well. And perhaps to enjoy some of the history that precedes their foot travels.

A pair of legacy events took place over the past two weekends, welcoming back runners for the first time in-person since 2019. Each took place without missing a beat, carrying on their grand traditions.


Hat Run 50K

Susquehanna State Park at the Steppingstone Farm Museum was site of the 32nd annual Hat Run 50K (31 miles) on March 19. This race features trails, roads, water crossing, mud and mountains, while challenging runners with an eclectic mix of difficult yet runnable obstacles.

This year the weather also decided to add to the challenge by being unseasonably warm in the mid to upper 70s, making the water crossings a delight, but the open field running somewhat warm for such an early season competition.

It’s also a run through tradition and history. There is the Rock Run Grist Mill and remnants of the Susquehanna and Tidewater Canal, which until 1889 was a transportation hub until the railroads took over and bridges crossed the Susquehanna.

There is also the well preserved Carter-Archer Mansion, built in 1804 and home to mills on both sides of the Susquehanna. It was also the location of a decision made by the son of the owner to determine loyalties during the Civil War.

He tossed his lot in with the Confederacy, rising to the rank of general despite being a major in the U.S. Army at the start of the war. It was a fateful decision as James “Sally” Archer, a graduate of the University of Maryland Law School, was captured at Gettysburg and later died in Richmond, Virginia.

In the present, the park is also home to the Deer Creek Watershed tributary of the Susquehanna River This predominantly rural watershed covers approximately 36% of the land area of Harford County. It is also, interestingly enough, home to Baltimore City’s Deer Creek Pumping Station, which supplements water supplies in times of drought by pumping water from the Susquehanna River 37 miles to the Montebello Plant on Hillen Road.

Local runners taking on the challenge of the course and enjoying the up-close view of history were led by Casey Rayburg, who finished eighth overall with a time of 5 hours, 3 minutes. Other locals competing included Kim Couranz, Davy DeArmond, Matthew Mace (23rd place), Stephen Kelley, Jake Kruse and Maureen Rohrs. These runners could also confirm, given the height of the stream crossings, some to the mid-thigh or higher, that there was no drought this spring.

B&A Trail Marathon, Half Marathon

The 2022 edition of the B&A Trail Marathon and Half Marathon, now it is 31st year, was held March 27 in its traditional starting location of Severna Park High. Thanks to the hard work of Anne Arundel County officials, the bridge over Joyce Lane was finished just in time for the race.


This race also features multiple history lessons of the old Annapolis and Baltimore Short Line (started in 1897) and the Washington, Baltimore, Annapolis Electric Railway. That was the final railroad iteration in use up until 1969 when a trestle washed out and service below Glen Burnie was cancelled. In 1979 Anne Arundel County purchased the 66-foot wide corridor for the purpose of creating a rail trail and park. Remnants of the old railroad abound on the 13-mile rail trail.

Coming back after a two-year layoff, the race saw 208 runners finish the full marathon (only five fewer than 2019) and 541 finish the half. The full and half marathons also saw impressive times with 11 runners going below three hours in the marathon, including overall male winner Benjamin Kopecy of St. Louis, Missouri in 2:35:04 (5:56/mile) and the overall female winner Marie-France Vidaver from Baltimore in 3:10:32.

In the half marathon, the overall male winner was Hunter Lussi of Gibson Island in a quick 1:11:33 (5:27/mile), while the overall female winner was Meaghan Murray of Baltimore in 1:21:09. Congratulations to all the runners or another fun filled jaunt up and down the B&A trail.

Maryland Half Marathon & 5K

The University of Maryland Greenbaum Cancer Center will hold the 14th annual Maryland Half Marathon and 5K virtually this year on June 11.

Every dollar raised goes directly to the cancer center, and since the inaugural race in 2009 participants have raised more than $4 million for care and research. Information and registration can be found at:


April 3 (8 a.m.): Cherry Pit 10-Miler, South River High School. Information:


April 9 (8:30 a.m.): Under Armour Sole of the City 10K, Baltimore. Information:

May 14 (7 a.m.): St. Michael’s Half Marathon. Information:

June 11: Maryland Half Marathon and 5K (virtual) Information:

September 18: Run for the Lighthouse, Quiet Waters Park, Information:

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